Authorities have continued the search for the missing Tirgana Air Service plane, which was believed to have crashed during a short domestic flight, and killed the 54 Indonesian nationalities of the aircraft.
According to the official National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Twitter account, the aircraft was carrying 44 adult passengers, five crew, and five children and infants.
Time reported that the flight took off from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, at about 2:22 p.m. and was due to land in Oksibil at about 3:16 p.m. Officials said the plane lost contact with air traffic control at about 2:55 p.m.
Indonesian Plane Crash Latest News
As of press time, debris believed to be from the plane are believed to have been found on the mountainous region of Papua. A second search plane has been dispatched to verify the debris spotted Monday, Col. I Made Susila Adyana, an Indonesian Air Force official in Papua, told the national news agency Antara.
He said a ground team is heading to the area from the town of Oksibil, the intended destination of the Trigana flight. However, the poor weather and lack of light is making the search and rescue efforts a real challenge.
Thunderstorms in the mountains
Time also shared that there are many possible reasons why no distress call was sent out before the plane was discovered missing. One theory suggests however, that it might indicate that the crew is busy with another situation or they simply didn?t know some serious was already happening.
Officials said the weather was clear when the plane took off in Jayapura, but CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said there were some thunderstorms over a mountainous area in the flight path.
The weather could get worse in the coming days, possibly impeding rescue efforts in an area with mountain peaks as high as 3 kilometers (10,000 feet).
“The terrain is going to be an issue as well, as we have some pretty steep slopes here,” Cabrera said.
Residents in Papua reported seeing the plane go down in the mountains, and that they have already found what are believed to be debris of the fatal flight. According to Al Jazeera, “The plane has been found [by villagers]. According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain. Verification is still in process,” said the transport ministry’s director-general of air transportation, Suprasetyo.
This plane crash is already one of the many plane crash incidents which happened recently in South East Asia.