Aviastar aircraft still missing in South Sulawesi
The Jakarta Post
The DHC-6 Twin Otter plane operated by Aviastar airline that lost contact during a domestic flight in eastern Indonesia remains missing as of 2 p.m. on Saturday, although air and ground search efforts had been under way since the morning.
According to National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head Air Marshal FH Bambang Soelistyo, the team was also seeking assistance from other countries.
'We have also asked other countries for help. The plane's emergency locator transmitter [ELT] still hasn't been detected,' Bambang told thejakartapost.com on Saturday.
The plane, owned by the private Aviastar Mandiri airline, lost contact with air traffic controllers 11 minutes after taking off in good weather Friday from Masamba in South Sulawesi province. It was headed for Makassar, the provincial capital, and was carrying three crew members and seven passengers, including three children.
The areas covered in the search efforts included Luwu, Tana Toraja and Enrekang regencies.
'Around 80 percent of the areas comprise mountains, hills and cliffs. The misty weather has also made it impossible for our planes to fly,' said Bambang.
Aside from the aerial search, around 125 personnel from Basarnas, the Indonesian Military (TNI), National Police and locals participated in the ground search in Bastem district, Luwu.
The search for the plane on Saturday focused on a 24-kilometer radius from where it last made contact. The effort can only be conducted during the day due to the difficult terrain.
According to tempo.co, the search agenda for Sunday included adding new search areas, namely Pinrang and Sidrap regencies, with a 48-km radius. (kes)(++++)
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