Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Indonesian rescuers recover bodies from Aviastar plane wreckage

An Indonesian search-and-rescue team has recovered the bodies from the wreckage of a small passenger plane that disappeared last week, officials said on Tuesday.

Ten people were aboard the plane, a DHC-6 Twin Otter operated by the small regional airline Aviastar, when it lost contact with air traffic controllers on Friday, minutes after takeoff from the island of Sulawesi. After days of combing the area, rescuers identified the wreckage in a remote, mountainous area of the island on Monday.

The bodies of all 10 victims — three crew members and seven passengers, including three children — have been found and sent to Makassar, the provincial capital, for identification, Adex Yudiswan, a South Sulawesi police spokesman, confirmed on Tuesday. The black box was also retrieved from the site.

The plane had just begun the short flight from Masamba, a small town in the province of South Sulawesi, to Makassar when it crashed. Family members have traveled to South Sulawesi to identify the bodies, Petrus Budi Prasetyo, an official from Aviastar, told reporters.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. Aviastar flies to remote parts of the Indonesian archipelago like Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua, according to its website.

Indonesia’s aviation industry has a poor safety record, and more than 300 people have died in crashes in the past 12 months alone. In June, a military aircraft crashed in the city of Medan on the western island of Sumatra, and in August, a smaller plane went down in the mountains of Papua.

Kurt Mastrovich, a pilot who has years of experience flying in Indonesia, said that while weather and terrain were often challenging factors, a lack of regulation had also led to small airlines’ creating flight paths in far-flung areas with almost no oversight from the central government.

“One of the biggest problems is because the regulator is very underresourced, they haven’t been able to create or evaluate a lot of the routes that have been created,” said Mr. Mastrovich, who was not referring specifically to Aviastar. “So a lot of the companies tend to go through their own process and evaluate their own routes. So there is a lot that gets missed.”

Wednesday 7 October 2015


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