Six planes and four ships have joined the search for missing Indonesian plane. The aircraft carrying ten people onboard went missing in eastern Indonesia. On October 1st, the DHC-5 Twin Otter was headed for a routine trip to Makassar, carrying three crew members and seven passengers, including three children. However, merely 11 minutes after takeoff, air traffic control completely lost contact with the aircraft.
No distress called has been sent and no there were no prior indications of any mechanical faults or difficulties. Furthermore, no weather hazards were reported in the South Sulawesi province, in which the plane had disappeared.
Yesterday, government officials sent two aircraft and two helicopters to investigate the area where it is believed the missing plane stopped all communications with air traffic control. Some villagers in the South Sulawesi province claimed to have witnessed the plane before its disappearance, but any proceeding investigations have turned no results.
Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, says that the operation to find the missing aircraft is even more difficult because the plane might not have been equipped with an emergency locator transmitter. This is a device attached to the black-boxes which emits a signal that can then aid rescue teams in pinpointing the exact location of the aircraft. This is most unusual as the device is required on all commercial planes and the aircraft is believed to have been most recently inspected on September 15.
Soelistyo further stated that today’s search will focus on “three sectors of Bua towards the south until Siwa, Bone Bay in Wajo District.” He also added that the National Search and Rescue Agency is conducting the operation in a joint effort with the Air Force and Police. Soelistyo hopes the search efforts will lead to better clues today, as the previous operations during the weekend were hindered by bad weather and rough terrain.
Indonesia has been plagued in recent years with a series of unfortunate aviation accidents. Even though it is one of Asia’s most rapidly growing airline markets, the country still struggles to find qualified pilots, mechanics, technical advisors and air traffic controllers. This unfortunate incident also resonates with neighboring country Malaysia, which last year alone experienced major aviation disasters, with the disappearance of infamous Flight 370 and the MH17 aircraft, which was shot down while travelling in Ukrainian airspace.
Photo Credits: Geograph.org.uk