Indonesian plane's wreckage spotted in Papua mountains
Debris and smoke from flight that went missing with 54 people on board seen miles from destination airport in remote settlement

Indonesian search teams have spotted from the air the wreckage of a passenger plane that went missing with 54 people on board in the mountains of eastern Papua.

The head of the national search and rescue agency said Monday that debris and smoke from the Trigana Air Service plane had been seen around 7 miles from an airport in Oksibil city, a remote settlement in the mountains.

"When a twin otter plane owned by Trigana Air searched from the air, it saw the smoke and debris," Bambang Soelistyo told reporters.

Kompas.com reported him as saying that search and rescue teams were also working to reach the site of the crash by land.

Susila Adnyana, Jayapura air base commander, said that evacuation efforts would begin once the crash site was found.

The flight had been headed from Jayapura - the provincial capital of Papua – to Oksibil when it lost contact at 2.55 p.m. (0755GMT) Sunday.

It departed at 2.22 p.m. but had not arrived at its destination at 3.15 p.m. as scheduled.

The mountainous area where some peaks rise up to 4,000 meters above sea level is difficult to access, and search efforts had to be called off overnight Sunday.

It had been hit by bad weather conditions at the time the Trigana flight was passing through.

While the transportation ministry has not officially confirmed when the final contact with the flight occurred, Kompas.com reported that the plane had asked for permission to land at a tower at the Oksibil airport before losing contact.

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Last Modified: 2015-08-17 09:02:10
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