'No sign of missing plane in Indonesia'

  • AFP, Jayapura
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 03, 2009 11:05 IST
Indonesian search and rescue teams were scouring the mountains of eastern Papua province Monday for signs of a plane that went missing with 16 people on board, an official said.

Jayapura Air Base commander Suwandi Miharja, who is coordinating the search, said two rescue aircraft were looking for the Merpati Airlines plane, which disappeared on a flight from Jayapura to Oksibil on Sunday.

"We're focusing our search on the border between Kerom and Pegunungan Bintang districts... it's a mountainous, jungly region," he said.

"They're flying beneath the clouds. The weather is unfriendly... foggy and rainy," he said. Thirteen passengers and three crew, all Indonesian, were on board the Merpati Nusantara Twin Otter when it disappeared, Miharja said.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands, which relies heavily on air links, but fatal accidents are common.


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