Eight killed as rescue copter crashes near Indonesian crater

The wreckage of the helicopter that crashed into a cliff in Temanggung during a rescue mission to Dieng Plateau, where an active volcanic crater, Sileri Crater, had erupted on Sunday.
The wreckage of the helicopter that crashed into a cliff in Temanggung during a rescue mission to Dieng Plateau, where an active volcanic crater, Sileri Crater, had erupted on Sunday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

JAKARTA • Eight people were killed after an Indonesian search and rescue helicopter crashed, a senior official said yesterday. It is the latest aviation accident in the country.

The Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency's helicopter was carrying four rescuers and four navy crew when it crashed into a cliff in Temanggung in central Java on Sunday.

The helicopter was on a mission to the Dieng Plateau, where an active volcanic crater and famous tourist destination, Sileri Crater, erupted at noon.

It was spurting cold lava and sending smoke 50m in the air, reported The Jakarta Post.

All eight bodies have been recovered from the crash site and identified, said the head of the agency, Mr Muhammad Syaugi.

At least 17 tourists were at the crater when the eruption occurred, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Ten of them sustained injuries and were taken immediately to a nearby community health centre to receive treatment.

"The authorities asked visitors and residents to vacate the area because there was potential for the crater to erupt a second time," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post.

The local disaster agency said Sileri Crater is the most active and dangerous crater in the volcanic Dieng Plateau, with six eruptions recorded from 1939 to 2009.

Mr Syaugi said his agency and the national transportation safety committee will investigate the cause of the crash.

Indonesia has a poor aviation track record and has experienced several air disasters in the past few months. In December, a military helicopter crashed in a remote area in Indonesia's Borneo, killing three people.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2017, with the headline 'Eight killed as rescue copter crashes near Indonesian crater'. Print Edition | Subscribe