Wreckage from an airplane traveling from Jayapura to Oksibil, Indonesia has been found after losing contact with air traffic control on Sunday. The missing Trigana Air Service flight found in Indonesia was discovered in the Bintang Mountains by villagers near Tangok mountain, according to Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo. The twin turboprop plane reportedly stopped responding to air traffic control at 2:55 p.m. on Sunday, just over half an hour into a 42-minute flight that was scheduled to land in Oksibil at 3:16 p.m. A total of 54 people were aboard the flight, including 44 passengers, five crew members, and five children and infants. Information has yet to be released as to whether or not there were any survivors, as well as to the condition of the plane. Aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman told The Guardian that residents did, however, reportedly see the plane crash in the valley near Tangok and just before the Oksibil airport.
It's unclear what, exactly, caused the Trigana Air Service flight to crash in the Bintang Mountains, though air traffic control reportedly received no distress signal before they lost contact with the plane. Initial search and rescue efforts were halted due to bad weather, which may have been a contributing factor in the plane crash. The Bintang Mountains are located in eastern Indonesia and are heavily forested and incredibly desolate. Due to its remoteness, flights are incredibly common and frequently the only way to access certain areas in the Papua province where the Bintang Mountains and Oksibil are located.
Trigana Air Service is a small Indonesian airline company whose fleet spans just 14 planes, 10 of which are smaller ATR twin turboprop planes, as well as four Boeing 737s. The airline has yet to release a statement about the crash. This incident certainly calls into question flight safety in an area that has struggled significantly with a lack of airline oversight. This recent incident marks the second airplane crash in Indonesia this year. Previously, an AirAsia flight had crashed in the Java Sea in January as it was en route to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Trigana Air Service specifically has a history of safety issues and is on the EU's banned airline list due to operating "in conditions which fall below essential and internationally recognized safety levels." Fourteen safety-related incidents have been reported since 1992, according to Aviation Safety Network. Prior to Sunday's plane crash, the most recent incident occurred earlier this year in January when a plane ran into a ditch and damaged one of its propellers and nose while landing.
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