Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Four Indonesian Air Force personnel departed from Silas Papare Air Base, Sentani, Jayapura District, to Oksibil in Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua, to search for an Indonesian Army helicopter that had gone missing.

Silas Papare Air Base Commander, Air Commodore Ir Tri Bowo Budi Santoso stated when contacted from Jayapura City, Papua, on Saturday that four personnel had departed at around 10:37 a.m. local time aboard a CN235 aircraft.

"They departed to bring 10 drums of avtur to support flight operations in the search for the MI HA-5138 that had gone missing," he remarked in a cell phone conversation.

Santoso revealed that the four personnel will be on standby at the Oksibil Airport to support flight operations during the helicopter search operations.

"They will be on standby at the Oksibil airport during the search process," he noted.

On Friday (June 28), information received from the Silas Papare Air Base, Sentani, Jayapura, at around 2:00 p.m. local time revealed that the MI-17 helicopter belonging to the Army had lost contact while on a flight mission from Oksibil Airport, the Pegunungan Bintang District, to the Sentani Jayapura Airport.

The helicopter had earlier conducted a logistical support mission to the Border Safeguard Post (Pamtas) in Okbibab District, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua.

The Okbibab post is one of the posts on the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border that can only be reached by aircraft or helicopter, Aidi stated, adding that the helicopter was scheduled to arrive at Sentani Airport, Jayapura, at around 1:11 p.m. local time.

In the meantime, at Oksibil Airport, good weather prevailed, with visibility reportedly reaching six to seven kilometers and from the reports, Oksibil tower officer Dita revealed the last contact with the aircraft was established at 11:49 WIT, or five minutes from takeoff, and was flying at an altitude of 7,800 feet, 6 NM, to the north, Col Inf. Aidi revealed.

The onboard helicopter crew members comprised pilots Captain CPN Aris and Lieutenant CPN Bambang, co-pilot First Lieutenant CPN Ahwar, Chief Sergeant Suriyatna, Second Sergeant Dita, Praka Dwi Purnomo, and First Sergeant Aharul.

Passengers, who were members of Yonif 725 / WRG, comprised Second Sergeant Ikrar Setya Nainggolan, First Sergeant Yanuarius Loe, Private Risno, Second Private Sujono Kaimuddin, and Second Private Tegar Hadi Sentana.

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Translator: Alfian Rumagit/Eliswan Azly
Editor: Sri Haryati
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