Five people were found dead on Thursday after a small plane crashed in Indonesia’s Papua province a day earlier, the latest in a series of aviation accidents to hit the country.
The Pilatus Porter PC-6 aircraft lost contact around mid-day on Wednesday just eight minutes after it took off from Wamena city, located in the eastern province’s mountainous region. It had been flying southwest toward neighbouring Nduga province.
The plane wreckage was spotted in a mountainous area nine miles (14km) from Wamena airport late on Wednesday. There were no survivors from the crash.
The plane, owned by missionary firm Associated Mission Aviation (AMA), was carrying three passengers and two crew, including the Dutch pilot. The other four victims were Indonesian. Rescue crew began work early on Thursday and all five bodies were recovered from the crash site, officials said.
“The main challenge was the plane wreckage lies on a cliff, so the evacuation team used a helicopter and hoisted the bodies up,” Rasburhani, the head of Wamena airport, who uses one name, told AFP.
Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years. Papua is a particularly difficult area to reach, and has experienced a number of accidents.
In December last year, a military transport plane crashed in Papua, killing 13 people on board. In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana also crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.