Military personnel search for missing helicopter in Sumatra

Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - At least 500 soldiers of Regional Military Command I Bukit Barisan are searching for a missing helicopter belonging to PT Penerbangan Angkasa Semesta that lost contact on Sunday afternoon.

"Hundreds of personnel derived from Batalion 122/Tombak Sakti, Batalion 125/Simbisa, Batalion 123/Rajawali and 0210 North Tapanuli District Military Command were deployed to search for the missing helicopter," the Chief of Information of Regional Military Command I Bukit Barisan, Colonel Enoh Solehuddin, said here on Monday.

The soldiers did not find any information regarding the helicopter during their search effort that started at 9:00 am and lasted till 14:00 pm on Monday.

"The personnel tried to trace the helicopter in three villages, Onanrunggu in Samosir District and Tarabunga and Lumbanjulu in Toba Samosir District, apart from several villages in Toba Lake area," Enoh said.

The soldiers inspected these areas because the helicopter was to fly over these villages during its flight from Samosir to Kualanamu Airport.

Enoh added that the soldiers will conduct their search in some additional areas to locate the missing helicopter.

He said the Regional Military Command I Bukit Barisan also operated two inflatable boats and a boat belong to the Samosir administration to search for the helicopter EC-130 PK-BKA in Toba Lake waters.

Previously, the Public Relations staff of Kualanamu Airport, Wisnu Budi Setianto, said on Sunday that the helicopter took off from Siparmahan, located in western coast of Toba Lake, and went over Pematangsiantar. It was headed for Kualanamu.

The helicopter was being piloted by Teguh Mulyanto and carried three passengers, namely Nurhayanti, Gianto, and Frans, as well as a technician, Heri Purwantono.

According to Wisnu, the pilot did not report its location to the Kualanamu authorities.

Meanwhile, the local community members reported having seen the helicopter on Sunday at 14:30 pm in Tarabunga, located 15 kilometers from Silangit Village.

The last signal emitting from a cellular phone belonging to the pilot was tracked in the region.(*)

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