At least two dead in Indonesian helicopter crash

JAKARTA (AFP) - At least two people have been killed and several more are missing after an Indonesian search and rescue helicopter crashed, an official said Sunday (July 2), in the country's latest aviation accident.

The helicopter was carrying at least eight people including four crew when it hit a cliff in Temanggung, Central Java province, late Sunday afternoon, a senior official at the social affairs ministry told AFP.

"It is a mountainous area, but it is reachable and our team is already on the ground so we are doing our best to find the other passengers," the official Adhy Karyono said.

Two unidentified bodies have already been recovered, he added.

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The chopper was on a mission to oversee the situation in Central Java, where a volcanic crater erupted at the Dieng Plateau on Sunday afternoon.

About five people were lightly injured when the Sileri crater spewed cold lava, ash and mud as high as 50 metres into the sky, with officials quick to deploy officers to clear the popular tourist area.

Indonesia has experienced several air disasters in the past few months and has a poor aviation track record.

In December, a military helicopter crashed in a remote area in Indonesia's Borneo killing three people, but a few weeks later one of the passengers was found alive.