Jakarta. A search and rescue team on Thursday (06/07) managed to reach the crash site of an Associated Mission Aviation Pilatus PC6 Porter plane that went missing in Wamena, Papua, a day earlier, and found the bodies of two pilots and three passengers on the ill-fated flight.
The SAR team is now preparing to evacuate the crash victims, Rasburhany, the head of Wamena airport, told state news agency Antara.
Airfast Indonesia, a Tangerang-based air carrier, is providing a helicopter to help with the evacuation, Rasburhany said.
"We ask for your prayer so we can finish the job today," he said, adding that residents from nearby villages have come to the crash site to lend help.
The AMA aircraft lost contact with air traffic controller eight minutes into its scheduled 25-minute flight from Wamena, the capital of the Jayawijaya district, to nearby town Darakma on Wednesday morning.
The plane carried Pilot Mouder Wauters, co-pilot Valens Ido Naibaho, three passengers identified as Sanabut, Don and Domget and 508 kilograms of cargo.
AMA, a Catholic mission's pioneering airline, managed to find the crash site using a search plane in the afternoon, but evacuation effort had to be delayed as fog — a constant scourge of airplanes in mountainous regions in Papua — reduced visibility.
This was the third fatal plane crash in the past seven months in Papua, where air travel is the only practical way to reach remote areas.