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Villagers find crashed Indonesian plane

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Villagers find crashed Indonesian plane
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Jayapura: The wreckage of a passenger plane which went missing with 54 people aboard in rugged eastern Indonesia Sunday has been found by villagers, an official said, in the latest fatal accident to hit the country's aviation sector.

The plane operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana Air lost contact with air traffic control just before 3:00 pm (0600 GMT) after taking off from Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, the search and rescue agency said.

The ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew on the flight which was scheduled to take about 45 minutes, it said.

But the plane disappeared about 10 minutes before reaching its destination Oksibil, a remote settlement in the mountains south of Jayapura, shortly after it asked permission to start descending to land.

Officials said initially that villagers in the Okbape district of Papua reported seeing a plane crash. The transport ministry later said local residents had found the wreckage.

"The plane has been found (by villagers). According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain," said the transport ministry's director‎-general of air transportation, Suprasetyo, who goes by one name.

Officials were still verifying the information from local residents, he said. There was no information about whether anyone may have survived.
Search and rescue teams, police and the military would head to the site as soon as possible Monday, said transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata.

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