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Indonesian plane carrying 54 crashes into mountain

MAST IRHAM/EPA

The mother of a Trigana Air plane crew member (c.) cries as she walks out of the airline’s main office in Jakarta on Sunday. Trigana Air Flight TGN267 crashed over Papua with 54 on board, Indonesian authorities said.

Relatives of passengers on the crashed Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of the airline's closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia on Sunday.AP

Relatives of passengers on the crashed Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of the airline’s closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia on Sunday.

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  • epa04886136 The mother of a missing Trigana Air plane crew member (C) cries as she walks out of Trigana Air main office, in Jakarta, Indonesia, 16 August 2015. Trigana Air Flight TGN267 from Jayapura to Oksibil, an ATR-42 turboprop aircraft, went missing over Papua with 54 on board, Indonesian authorities said on 16 August 2015. EPA/MAST IRHAM
  • Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of its closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. An Indonesian airliner went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. Local media reports said all the passengers are Indonesians. The airline did not immediately release a passenger manifest. Sign on window says "Wamena - Today is Full" and is unrelated to the missing plane. (AP Photo)

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An aircraft with 54 people on board crashed in Indonesia’s remote and mountainous region of Papua on Sunday, a government official said, the latest in a string of aviation disasters in the Southeast Asian nation.

“The latest information is that the Trigana aircraft that lost contact has been found at Camp 3, Ok Bape district in the Bintang Mountains regency,” Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo told reporters. “Residents provided information that the aircraft crashed into Tangok mountain.”

There was no immediate word on whether anyone survived.

Indonesia's Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan (l.) speaks at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday announcing that a missing plane carrying 54 people had crashed into a mountain in eastern Indonesian province Papua.ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images

Indonesia’s Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan (l.) speaks at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday announcing that a missing plane carrying 54 people had crashed into a mountain in eastern Indonesian province Papua.

Earlier, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) said a twin-turboprop plane had lost contact with air traffic control as it flew over the forested area of eastern Indonesia but efforts to trace it were difficult because of failing light.

Trigana Air Operations Director Beni Sumaryanto said that within 30 minutes of hearing that the aircraft was missing, the airline sent another plane to scour the same flight path but it had found nothing because of bad weather, local media reported.

Personnel at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue view a terrain map in Jayapura while searching for the crashed plane.INDRAYADI/AFP/Getty Images

Personnel at Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue view a terrain map in Jayapura while searching for the crashed plane.

According to the official BASARNAS Twitter account, the aircraft, a short-haul ATR 42-300 airliner belonging to Trigana Air Service and built in France and Italy, was carrying 44 adult passengers, five crew and five children and infants.

The plane was flying between Jayapura’s Sentani Airport and Oksibil, due south of Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.

BAGUS INDAHONO/EPA

A Trigana Air Service plane takes off at Iskandar Military Airport in Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo, Indonesia.

Air transport is commonly used in Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, where land travel is often impossible.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, an online database, the ATR 42-300 that went missing made its first flight 27 years ago. ATR is a joint venture between Airbus (AIR.PA) and Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI).

The airline has been on the EU’s list of banned carriers since 2007. Airlines on the list are barred from operating in European airspace due to either concerns about safety standards or the regulatory environment in their country of registration.

The airline has a fleet of 14 aircraft, according to the airfleets.com database. These include 10 ATR aircraft and four Boeing 737 Classics. These have an average age of 26.6 years, according to the database.

People walk outside the terminal at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, on Sunday after a Trigana Air Service flight originating from there went missing.AP

People walk outside the terminal at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, on Sunday after a Trigana Air Service flight originating from there went missing.

Sentana Alam/EPA

A partial view of the Sentani Airport near Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia.

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  • People walk outside the terminal at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, after a Trigana Air Service flight originating from there went missing. An Indonesian airliner went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. Local media reports said all the passengers are Indonesians. The airline did not immediately release a passenger manifest. (AP Photo)
  • epa04885881 (FILES) A file photo from 2 August 2009 showing a partial view of the Sentani Airport near Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia as relatives wait news of a missing Merpati twin otter plane. Local officials had said that an Indonesia plane with 54 people on board is missing in Papua region. Contact was lost with the Trigana Air ATR 42 turboprop just before 15.00 local time after taking off from Sentani airport. EPA/Sentana Alam

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Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Excluding this latest incident, it has written off 10 aircraft.

Airline officials were not immediately available to respond to enquiries from Reuters.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record and has seen two major plane crashes in the past year, including an AirAsia flight that went down in the Java Sea, killing all on board.

The AirAsia crash prompted the Indonesian government to introduce regulations aimed at improving safety.

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Nation / World – NY Daily News

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