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 At Least 100 Deployed in Search for Missing Aviastar Plane

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BerichtOnderwerp: At Least 100 Deployed in Search for Missing Aviastar Plane   vr 2 okt 2015 - 21:02

The Jakarta Globe, Oct 2 2015

Jakarta. Indonesian authorities have deployed at least 100 rescue workers to search for the missing Twin Otter turboprop airplane operated by Aviastar, which last contacted air traffic control minutes after taking off from a South Sulawesi town.

Ten people were on board the plane.

Transportation Ministry spokesman J.A. Barata told MetroTV news station that the plane departed from Masamba, a town in North Luwu district, at 2.25 p.m. local time on Friday and had been scheduled to arrive in Makassar at 3.39 p.m.

Barata said a pilot is supposed to contact air traffic control after a plane has reached its cruising altitude and again to seek clearance to make a descent and approach its destination.

The last known contact with the plane was made at 2.36 p.m. local time, when the pilot reported that the plane had reached an altitude of 4,000 feet.

The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) immediately sent its personnel to South Sulawesi, as have the local police and the provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD).

Basarnas chief Air Marshall Sulistyo said that his agency alone had deployed at least 100 officials, adding that he would be leaving for Makassar on Friday night to coordinate the search effort.

Officials on Friday evening had not received any report of a plane crash from locals in the search area. reported that some family members of the passengers and crew had gathered at Makassar's Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and were waiting for news on the fate of their loved ones.

Barata said the plane was carrying 10 passengers, including three crew members, one child and two infants.

Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan told that his office was considering to ground all Twin Otter planes operating in Indonesia pending additional safety inspections.

“Weather cannot have been a factor,” the minister said. “The wind was blowing at five kilometers an hour from the West, visibility was nine kilometers and the weather was clear.”

An Aviastar official told CNN Indonesia news portal that the plane was fit to fly.

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