Locals saw helicopter circling over Mt Mol: officer

Locals saw helicopter circling over Mt Mol: officer

Colonel Binsar Sianipar, commander of the Military Resort Command (Dandrem) 172 PWY, Papua. (ANTARA News Papua/Evarukdijati)

The pilot then said "thank you" at 11:49 a.m., and since then there has been no contact between him and the ATC.
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Locals around Serambakom, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua Province, claimed they saw and heard a helicopter circling twice over Mount Mol or Oksop, said Colonel Binsar Sianipar, commander of Military Resort Command (Dandrem) 172 PWY, Papua. At that time, it was raining and foggy there, Col. Sianipar told Antara here, Friday evening.

The Papua military office studied all information coming from the local people, and several officers were deployed to Serambakom area.

The search and rescue operations would be continued on Saturday, as the weather in Oksibil was quite bad due to rains and fog.

Earlier, the pilot navigating an Indonesian Army's MI 17 helicopter with 12 people aboard said "thank you" at 11:49 a.m. local time, before the airport lost contact with him, Oksibil Airport Chief Frits Ayomi said.

The helicopter took off from Oksibil Airport at 11:44 a.m. local time, and at 11:48 a.m. contacted the air traffic control (ATC) to report that it would ascend to 7,800 feet, 6 nautical miles toward the north.

The pilot then said "thank you" at 11:49 a.m., and since then there has been no contact between him and the ATC, Ayomi told Antara, Friday evening.

The MI 17 helicopter with registration number HA-5138 carried 12 people. They had earlier flown to Okbibab to dispatch logistics to military officers there.

The crew members are captain Aris (pilot), First Lt Bambang (pilot), First Lt Ahwar (co-pilot), Chief Sergeant Suriyatna, Second Sergeant Dita, Private Dwi Purnomo and Private Aharul.

The passengers are soldiers of Infantry Battallion 725/WRG, namely, Ikrar Setya Nainggolan, Yanuarius Loe, Risno, Sujono Kaimuddin, and Tegar Hadi Sentana.

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