JAKARTA, Indonesia – A small plane with five people on board went missing Wednesday in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, officials said.
The PT Associated Mission Aviation plane went missing on a short flight from Wamena, the capital of the mountainous district of Jayawijaya, to Derakma in neighboring Nduga district, said Melkianus Kotta, head of the local search and rescue agency.
He said the Pilatus Porter PC-6 lost contact eight minutes after it took off at 11 a.m. It was scheduled to land at around 11:25.
A search by helicopter and a similar plane from AMA was hampered by bad weather. Rescue teams from the army and police were deployed to search on the ground.
The plane was carrying two pilots — one Indonesian and one from the Netherlands — and three Indonesian passengers.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation, with more than 250 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.
Flying is the only practical way of accessing many areas in the mountainous and jungle-clad easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.