Sentani, Jayapura (ANTARA) - The land search and rescue team (SAR) from Oksibil, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua, is searching for the missing MI 17 helicopter through Mount Mol and Mount Aprok.

An information officer of the Cenderawasih military command, Lt. Col. Inf Dax Sianturi said here Sunday, that the SAR team on land searching for the missing Army MI-17 helicopter is making the search through Mount Mol and Mount Aprok.

"This morning at around 6:00 local time, around 26 people have moved to the District of Oksop with the aim of searching the ill-fated chopper through Mount Mol and Mount Aprok," said Dax Sianturi.

Based on information obtained from the local community, he said, the area to be searched by the Land Search Team is an area where residents have never passed.

Therefore, he continued, to respect local culture, the team had asked permission from the indigenous people.

Previously, the MI-17 helicopter belonging to the Indonesian Army lost contact shortly after taking off from Oksibil Airport, Pegunungan Bintang Regency, to Sentani Airport, Jayapura District.

"The aircraft was reported to have carried 12 people consisting of seven crew members and five military personnel," said Chief of the Information Office of the Cenderawasih military command, Colonel Inf. Muhammad Aidi.

The helicopter, continued Aidi, was carrying out a logistical support to the Air Post for Safeguarding Border Area in Okbibab District.

Departing from Okbibab District, the flight continued to Oksibil Airport for refueling.

"At 11.44 local time, MI-17 chopper took off from Oksibil Airport to Sentani. According to the estimated time, the chopper should land at Sentani at 13.11 local time but until now there has been no communication or news about the existence of the ill-fated aircraft," he said.

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Translator: Musa Abubar/Bambang Purwanto
Editor: Sri Haryati
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