Cargo plane carrying 4 missing in eastern Indonesia

TIMIKA, Indonesia – An Indonesian cargo plane with 4 people on board lost contact with air traffic control on Wednesday, September 18, an official said, the latest incident to hit the country's poor aviation record. 

The Twin Otter DHC6-400, set off from the city of Timika on Wednesday at 10:39 am (0239 GMT) and was headed to Ilaga, a mountainous region in the remote eastern province of Papua and was scheduled to arrive 50 minutes after taking off. 

"After 2.5 hours, there has been no information from the nearest airport on the plane's whereabouts, we decided to announce the plane has lost contact," local transportation agency head, Yan Purba told Metro TV. 

The aircraft was carrying 3 crew members and one passenger as well as 1.7 tons of rice. 

Search and rescue have been assembled for the missing plane which was flying in good weather conditions, Purba said. 

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands, but mountainous Papua is a particularly difficult area to reach. 

The country has a poor aviation safety record and Papua is a particularly problematic place to fly due to its mountainous terrain and frequent poor weather. 

In June, a military helicopter with 12 people on board lost contact just minutes after it took off from a remote Papua district Oksibil, to Sentani, also in Papua. 

The remains of the aircraft have not been found to this day. 

Earlier in 2016, a cargo plane carrying construction materials crashed in Ilaga, killing all 4 people on board. –