Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Inclement weather played spoilsport in the search for an Army's MI 17 helicopter that had gone missing since Friday (June 28) in Okbibab, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua.

The erratic local weather conditions hindered the joint search and rescue (SAR) team from working optimally, Commander of the Silas Air Base Air Commodore Tri Bowo told ANTARA here on Thursday.

"Until the sixth day of the search operation, there is no sign of the Army's helicopter that had onboard 12 passengers and crew members," Bowo confirmed.

Commander of the Praja Wira Yakhti (PWY) Military Region Command Col. Inf. Binsar Sianipar remarked that the SAR team, since Wednesday (July 3), could not conduct aerial search operation following bad weather.

"Earlier, today, a helicopter had flown to the site, but it returned to Oksibil following bad weather," Sianipar noted.

The MI-17 helicopter, bearing registration number HA-5138, was carrying onboard 12 passengers and crew members, who had earlier flown to Okbibab to deliver logistics to soldiers serving in the area that borders with Papua New Guinea (PNG).

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The crew members aboard the helicopter were pilots CPN Captain Aris and CPN Lieutenant Bambang, co-pilot First Lieutenant CPN Ahwar, Head Sergeant Suriyatna, Sergeant Dita, Head Private Dwi Purnomo, and Private Aharul.

The passengers, who were members of the Battalion 725/WRG, comprised Second Sergeant Ikrar Setya Nainggolan, Private Yanuarius Loe, Private Risno, Second Private Sujono Kaimuddin, and Second Private Tegar Hadi Sentana. Related news: TNI continues search on day four for missing MI-17 Helicopter

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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