Indonesia launches search for missing plane

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MAKASSAR, Indonesia: Indonesia launched an operation Saturday to search for a passenger plane carrying 10 people which went missing during a flight on Sulawesi island, an official said.

The Aviastar Twin Otter DHC-6 aircraft carrying four adult passengers, three children and three crew lost contact with air traffic control shortly after taking off from the remote Masamba airport in North Luwu en route for the provincial capital Makassar.

Head of Indonesian search and rescue agency Bambang Soelistyo said more than 100 personnel including military and local police officers have been deployed to the area.

The search also involves two military helicopters and two planes from the airline.


The agency has also asked neighboring countries to locate the plane with their satellites.

“Our search has not been successful, until now we have not found the estimated location of the Aviastar plane,” Soelistyo said.

He added that efforts to search for the plane have been hampered by the remote territory where it disappeared.

“Some 80 percent of the area consists of mountains and hills, there are many deep ravines, and it is also very foggy, the weather makes it difficult for a plane to fly,” he said.

Aviastar Mandiri is an Indonesian domestic passenger airline.

The country has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered major disasters in recent months, including a plane which crashed on a remote mountain in Oksibil Papua in August, killing all 54 people onboard.

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