The Jakarta Post
Oksibil Airport’s air traffic control in Pegunungan Bintang, Papua, lost contact with a Cessna Caravan aircraft belonging to airline company PT Spirit Avia Sentosa (Flying SAS) at 12:45 p.m. local time Wednesday.
It is feared that the aircraft crashed on Mount Botak in Pegunungan Bintang regency, an official has said.
“We have left for Mt Botak. Several local residents reported that they saw an aircraft crash in the area, so we will go there to check,” said Phiter Rumaropen, the head of the Pegunungan Bintang administration’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), on Wednesday.
Piloted by Capt. Rio Pasaribu, the Cessna was on its way to Oksibil from Tanah Merah Airport in Boven Digul when contact with it was lost. It carried cargo weighing 1,225 kilograms.
“The whereabouts of the aircraft remains unknown. We are holding a meeting to coordinate rescue operations,” said Tanah Merah Airport head Fitra Jaya.
Departing from Tanah Merah at 11:44 a.m., the aircraft should have arrived in Oksibil at 1 p.m.
Airline company Associated Mission Aviation (AMA) Papua director Djarot Soetanto said it had dispatched three aircraft to help in search operations. The company’s representative in Oksibil received a report from the Kobikop district head that people in the area had spotted an aircraft crash on Mt Botak.
“Our pilots will carry out search operations near the location once the weather clears,” said Djarot, adding that the aircraft deployed were two Cessna Caravan and a Pilatus. The incident coincides with the 14th anniversary of Pegunungan Bintang regency. (ebf)