A Cessna C208 Caravan plane belonging to Spirit Avia Sentosa airlines, known as the Flying SAS, disappeared from radar screens in Papua on Wednesday (12/04). (Photo courtesy of Textron Aviation)

Missing Cessna Plane Reportedly Hit Cliff in Mt. Bintang, Papua


APRIL 13, 2017

Jakarta. A Cessna C208 Caravan plane, which disappeared from radar screens on Wednesday (12/04), has reportedly crashed into a cliff in the Mt. Bintang area in Papua.

The aircraft, operated by Spirit Avia Sentosa and known locally as the "Flying SAS," departed from Tanah Merah Airport in Boven Digoel at 11.44 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

The plane was expected to land at Oksibil Airport in Mt. Bintang at 12.14 p.m.

"Local residents reported that an aircraft has hit a cliff. We have sent a team to the area to investigate," Mt. Bintang Police's Chief Comr. Adj. Sugito said on Wednesday evening.

Sugito said the team comprises 21 police officers and volunteers. They departed before sundown to the location, which could take up to 10 hours to reach since the team has to leave their cars after a two-hour drive and reach the location by foot.

Earlier, a DHC-06 Twin Otter rescue plane was dispatched from Oksibil in search for the missing Cessna, but had to fly back due to unfriendly weather.

"Hopefully, the team will arrive at the location on Thursday and report back," Sugito said.

The Cessna aircraft was piloted by Rio Pasaribu and carried 1,225 kilograms of food for residents in Mt. Bintang, a remote area.

It remains unclear how many people in total were on board the plane.

More details to follow.