Indonesian passenger plane crashes into mountain
THE Trigana Air plane that went missing yesterday has been found, Indonesian authorities said during a news conference. Although details were still being verified at press time, villagers reported seeing the plane, which was carrying 54 passengers and crew, crash into a mountain.
The air service flight left Sentani Airport in Jayapura at 2:22 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Oksibil at about 3:16 p.m before losing contact. It lost contact at about 2:55 p.m., Transportation Ministry spokesman, J.A. Barata, told CNN Indonesia.
There was no indication that a distress call was made from the plane, according to agency reports, which hinted that the plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members. Barata said officials have not yet confirmed whether the plane crashed.
“A search was launched earlier today (yesterday), but was called off because of bad weather, and it’s also now dark there,” he said.
Search and rescue official Ludi Yanto said that efforts would include an air search and a ground search.
It is uncertain why the plane crashed. There are many possible reasons for the apparent lack of a distress call, aviation analyst, Mary Schiavo, said. Agency reports further said it could indicate that flight crew-members were too busy dealing with whatever situation that arose to have time to send one, or that they simply didn’t realise they were in trouble.
Officials said the weather was clear when the plane took off in Jayapura, but Meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, said there were some thunderstorms over a mountainous area in the flight path.
The Trigana Air Service plane is at least the third aircraft to go missing in Asia in the past 18 months.
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished from radar soon after take-off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, enroute Beijing. A chunk of the plane recently washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, but authorities are still looking for the bulk of the plane. MH370 had 239 people on board.
And on December 28, 2014, AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disappeared while headed from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. That plane, which had 162 people on board, was later found in the Java Sea.
Trigana Air Service is one of a large number of airlines banned from operating in European airspace “because they are found to be unsafe and, or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities,” according to the European Commission.