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[JAKARTA] An aircraft with 54 people on board crashed in Indonesia's remote and mountainous region of Papua on Sunday, a government official said, the latest in a string of aviation disasters in the Southeast Asian nation. "The latest information is that the Trigana aircraft that lost contact has been found at Camp 3, Ok Bape district in the Bintang Mountains regency," Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo told reporters. "Residents provided information that the aircraft crashed into Tangok mountain." There was no immediate word on whether anyone survived.
Earlier, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) said a twin-turboprop plane had lost contact with air traffic control as it flew over the forested area of eastern Indonesia but efforts to trace it were difficult because of failing light.
Trigana Air Operations Director Beni Sumaryanto said that within 30 minutes of hearing that the aircraft was missing, the airline sent another plane to scour the same flight path but it had found nothing because of bad weather, local media reported.
According to the official BASARNAS Twitter account, the aircraft, a short-haul ATR 42-300 airliner belonging to Trigana Air Service and built in France and Italy, was carrying 44 adult passengers, five crew and five children and infants.
The plane was flying between Jayapura's Sentani Airport and Oksibil, due south of Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.
Air transport is commonly used in Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, where land travel is often impossible.