Indonesia plane crash kills 13

Indonesian military personnel examining the wreckage of an air force plane that crashed in Papua province during a training exercise.
Indonesian military personnel examining the wreckage of an air force plane that crashed in Papua province during a training exercise.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JAKARTA • An Indonesian air force transport plane has crashed into a mountain, killing all 13 people on board, during a training exercise in the remote region of Papua.

The Hercules C130 plane had taken off from the city of Timika before crashing near its destination of Wamena at around 6.15am local time (5.15am Singapore time), said Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency operational director Ivan Ahmad Riski Titus.

The crash site on Lisuwa mountain had been found and the bodies of the victims were being brought back to Wamena, he said.

Air transport is commonly used in remote and mountainous Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, where land travel is often impossible.

Indonesia has a patchy air safety record and President Joko Widodo promised a review of the country's ageing air force fleet last year after a military transport plane crashed, killing more than 100 people.

"The plane was heavily damaged and seemed to have been razed by fire. All 13 people inside the plane died," said Mr Rasbuhani Umar, head of Wamena Airport, which is about 30 minutes from the accident site.

The plane was undertaking navigation training while transporting cement and sacks of rice to people in the Tengah Mountains. The total cargo weighed 12 tonnes.

Conditions in Wamena at the time of accident were foggy, with visibility of 2km.

Two planes were scheduled to land in Wamena yesterday morning but, due to the low visibility, an aircraft that took off from Sentani Airport in Jayapura decided to turn back, Mr Rasbuhani said.

REUTERS, THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesia plane crash kills 13'. Print Edition | Subscribe