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Indonesian plane missing with 18 people

Police and military teams scoure dense jungle in search of an Indonesian air force plane that went missing with five crew and 13 passengers, say a military spokesman.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2008 11:56 IST

Police and military teams scoured dense jungle Friday in search of an Indonesian air force plane that went missing with five crew and 13 passengers, including three foreigners, a military spokesman said.

The 1984 Casa-212 military aircraft disappeared during an aerial surveillance mission Thursday after taking off from an airstrip just east of the capital, Jakarta, air force spokesman Chaeruddin Ray said.

An Indian, Singaporean and Briton working for Singapore-based company Credent Technology were on the flight testing new camera equipment, he said.

On Friday, hundreds of police and soldiers began combing the dense jungle at the base of Salak Mountain, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Jakarta, nearly a day after the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers.

"The aircraft has not been found yet. The area is too large," said police spokesman Yusuf, who like many Indonesian goes by a single name.

Indonesia has seen a spate of airline accidents in recent years, including an Adam Air crash that killed 102 and another by national carrier Garuda that killed 21, leading the European Union to ban all Indonesian airlines.

It was the second incident involving a Casa-212 plane this year in Indonesia after a flight operated by the private Dirgantara Air Service crashed in January with three people aboard.