Indonesian Plane Found, 54 Feared Dead

Indonesian Plane Found, 54 Feared DeadIndonesian Plane Found, 54 Feared Dead

The wreckage of an Indonesian airliner carrying 54 people was found on Sunday, hours after it lost contact with ground control, Indonesia's director general of air transportation, Suprasetyo, said during a news conference.

The wreckage was found by villagers, who told officials it had crashed into a mountain. There was no immediate report of number of casualties, CNN reported.

The Trigana Air Service plane 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.

Earlier, scores of rescuers were heading to the remote area to begin searching there at daybreak Monday.

The flight left Sentani Airport in Jayapura at around 2:00 p.m. local time and was scheduled to land in Oksibil at about 3:16 p.m., officials said.

Indonesia's Transportation Ministry spokesman JA Barata said there was no indication that a distress call was made from the plane.

The plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members. The search, which involved forested and mountainous terrain, was called off because weather and lack of light made an already dangerous landscape more problematic.

Dudi Sudibyo, an aviation analyst, said Papua is a particularly dangerous place to fly because of its mountainous terrain and rapidly changing weather patterns.

Indonesia has had its share of airline woes in recent years. Last December, all 162 people aboard an AirAsia jet were killed when the plane plummeted into the Java Sea as it ran into stormy weather on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore.

That disaster was one of five suffered by Asian carriers in a 12-month span, including Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 people aboard during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.