"Information obtained from a resident in Basten Utara said a white plane was seen flying low. The team will conduct a thorough scan of the area where the plane allegedly crashed," a coordinator of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team in Bone District, Andi Sultan, said here on Saturday.
The Twin Otter aircraft belonging to Aviastar airline lost contact while on its way from Masamba subdistrict to Makassar city, South Sulawesi, at 2:36 p.m. Central Indonesia Time (WITA), on Friday, an official stated.
"An Aviastar aircraft, bearing registration number DHC6/PKBRM, went missing," according to Julius Andravida Barata, a spokesman of the Transportation Ministry, stated while confirming the incident.
The ill-fated aircraft went missing during its flight from Masamba at 2:29 p.m. local time. It was scheduled to arrive at the Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi, at 3:39 p.m. local time.
According to Andi Sultan, Basten Utara, where a white plane was seen flying low, is located along the Luwu-Palopo border area that has a dense forest and is rarely accessed by communities. It is about 13 kilometers from the command post.
Meanwhile, the chief of the national SAR agency, Vice Marshal F Henry Bambang Soelistyo, told the press that his personnel have not yet been able to zero-in on the spot where the aircraft allegedly crashed, given the fact that the aforementioned location is quite challenging.
In the meantime, families of the passengers onboard the ill-fated Aviastar plane flocked to the security office of the Sultan Hasanuddin Airport here.
Zulkarnain, a family member of a passenger Nurul Fatimah, said that he had come to the airport security office to seek the latest information about the missing plane.
(Reported by Darwin Fatir/Uu.B003/INE/KR-BSR)