The mission in Papua was a test mission."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - National Defense Forces (TNI) Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo speaking at Abdulrachman Saleh airport in Malang, East Java, on Monday, delivered a final tribute to the victims of the Air Force C-130HS Hercules numbered A-133 aircraft that crashed in Wamena, Papua, on Sunday morning (Dec. 18).

On behalf of the TNI family, General Nurmantyo expressed his condolences over the death of the best soldiers of the Air Force in the crash of the Hercules aircraft.

The TNI chief also extended his gratitude to the people of Wamena, the police and Wamena airport officials, National Search and Rescue (Basarnas) officials, and all who had cooperated in the evacuation of the bodies of the victims to Malang, East Java.

Nurmantyo said an investigation will soon seek to identify the cause of the crash.

Air Force deputy chief Air Vice Marshal Hadiyan Sumintaatmadja said here on Sunday that the Hercules C-130 HS was on a training mission in Papua to improve the skills of pilots.

During the training exercise, a co-pilot was being tested to become a captain. Hadiyan said the co-pilot was tested on meeting natural conditions in Papua.

"The mission in Papua was a test mission. One of the tests is for the pilot to be able to fly aircraft in any conditions," he said.

He predicted the crash happened because of weather conditions, although it has yet been confirmed.

He said, in investigating such a disaster, that there would be five factors that need to be investigated and analysed, including man-made errors, materials, media, mission and management.

The ill-fated Hercules aircraft, flown by Major Marlon A Kawer with 12 crew members and a passenger, took off from Timika at 05.35 East Indonesia Time and was expected to arrive in Wamena at 06.13 EIT. It reportedly lost contact with air controllers at 06.09 EIT.

Other crew members on board the plane include Captain J. Hotian F. Saragih, First Lieutenant Hanggo Fitradhi, First Lieutenant Fajar Prayogo, Chief Warrant Officer Lukman Hakim, Chief Warrant Officer Suyata, Chief Warrant Officer Khusen, Sargeant Major Khodori, Chief Warrant Officer Agung, Sergeant Major Fatoni, Second Sergeant Suyanto, and Chief Warrant Officer Agung Tri.

"The other victim is a passenger who joined at Abdurrahman Saleh air base (in Malang, East Java) named Captain Rino from Radar Unit 242 Tanjung Warari, Biak," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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