Indonesian Plane Missing


A Merpati twin-otter plane with 16 passengers onboard went missing on Sunday during its flight from Oksibil, Bintang to Sentani, Jayapura in Papua.

Merpati Jayapura sales manager Nugi admitted the aircraft had lost contact with airport authorities.

“We are still awaiting further report,” Nugi said as quoted by

Nugi said 16 passengers were onboard the plane, but Elshinta radio reported the plane carried 11 adult passengers, two infants, and three crew.

The plane departed from Okibil at 8.00 a.m. and should have reached Sentani at 9.30 a.m.

The Twin Otter plane was on a commercial flight over the remote Papua region when it lost contact with ground officials, said Capt. Nikmatullah, the director of operations of airline Merpati Nusantara.

No trace had been found of the plane more than four hours after it took off, said Nikmatullah, who goes by a single name. The aircraft was carrying enough fuel to keep it in the air for 3½ hours, he told Metro TV.
The plane was on a 50-minute journey from Sentani, a major airport in Papua, to the town of Oksibil, he said.

Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. In the past, crashed planes have never been found.