Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Indonesia plane crash kills Spanish pilot

A small plane crashed into a mountain after an aborted landing attempt in Indonesia's remote Papua region on Wednesday, killing the Spanish co-pilot and critically injuring the New Zealand pilot, local rescue officials said.

The pilot aborted the landing after spotting a villager who had wandered onto the airstrip in Paniai district, local search and rescue chief Sumpeno Yuwono told AFP.

After flying away the Susi Air's Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft crashed into a mountain some seven miles (11 kilometres) away.

"Just as the aircraft was coming in to land the pilot spotted a villager walking on the runway. He decided to abort the landing and fly away again, but he failed and the plane hit a mountain seven miles away," he said.

"The New Zealand pilot has been rescued to a hospital in Timika town and the body of the Spanish co-pilot was sent to a nearby airport."

Like most airstrips in the remote area, the Paniai runway is unprotected by a fence. Locals cut through it to take shortcuts and children sometimes use the area to play football, he said.

The plane, coming in from neighbouring Nabire, was flying food supplies to remote villages in the district, other rescue officials said.

The sprawling Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air transport and has a poor aviation safety record. Turbulent weather conditions in Papua have caused several accidents in recent years.

In September an Australian and a Slovak pilot were killed when their Grand Caravan, owned by the same company, went down in a remote area of Papua province.

Another small aircraft, also transporting supplies to remote villages for a Christian organisation in Papua, crashed the same month, killing its American pilot and two passengers.

One Dead, One Survives Indonesia Plane Crash: Authorities

One foreign pilot is dead though a second survived after a light plane crash in Papua province on Wednesday morning, Indonesian rescue authorities said.

Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman with the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), told the Jakarta Globe that the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan turboprop carrying two foreign pilots went down near Sugapa in Intan Jaya district.

The pilot, identified by one local news portal as a New Zealander, survived the accident, though his copilot, a Spanish national, died on his way to a hospital in Timika. Another report said both pilots were Spanish.

Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono, meanwhile, told the Jakarta Globe that the plane was attempting to land at Sugapa airport when it was forced to abort the landing because “there were people on the runway.”

“It tried to avoid [the people], went up again, and when it turned left it hit Wabu Mountain.”

The crash is the latest in a string of aviation accidents to hit Indonesia, and the second in 10 weeks involving Susi Air.

A Susi Air Cessna crashed in mountainous terrain in Papua on Sept. 9, killing the pilot and co-pilot. No passengers were on board in that incident.

On Wednesday, Gagah told the Globe that they had abandoned a search for yet another Cessna, which went down on a training flight near Cirebon, West Java, last week. A pilot and two students from the Nusa Flying International training school in Jakarta are missing, feared dead.

“We have stopped the aerial search for the Cessna aircraft on Tuesday evening,” Gagah said, adding they could only search for seven days. “We have tried to search different routes, but with zero results.”

The land-based search was continuing, he said.

On Sept. 29, a Nusantara Buana Air CASA C-212 aircraft went down between Medan, North Sumatra, and Kutacane, Aceh, leaving 18 people dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.