Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - A search and rescue operation has been launched to trace a Twin Otter aircraft carrying 1.6 tons of the State Logistics Agency's (Bulog's) rice that went missing on Wednesday morning.

"The search operation has begun. Currently, we are holding a meeting," Head of the Timika SAR Agency Monce informed ANTARA when contacted from Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, on Wednesday.

The ill-fated aircraft became untraceable after taking off from the Moses Kilangain Airport in Timika, Mimika District, en route to Ilaga, the capital city of Puncak District in Papua Province.

Related news: Twin Otter aircraft transporting Bulog's rice untraceable in Papua

Ambar Suryoko, head of the Moses Kilangain Airport in Timika, noted that the chartered aircraft belonged to PT Carpediem.

Head of the Jayapura Search and Rescue Agency (SAR) Putu Agra had earlier remarked that the missing aircraft was piloted by Dasep, who was accompanied by a flight officer, an engineer, and a passenger during the flight for transporting Bulog's rice.

Agra stated that the aircraft, bearing registration number PK-CDC RTB, took off from Timika's airport at 10:36 a.m. local time and was scheduled to land at Ilaga at 11:09 a.m. local time.

However, until 11:35 a.m. local time, this Twin Otter aircraft had yet to arrive at Ilaga, thereby prompting aviation authorities to issue an INCERFA status at 11:40 a.m. local time to notify about an uncertainty phase with regard to the safety of the aircraft and those on board, he stated.

"Until 12:10 p.m. local time, the search operation had yet to successfully locate the missing aircraft, while its fuel would have run out after being airborne for two hours and thirty minutes," he pointed out.

Papua Province has, on numerous instances over the past few years, borne witness to air accidents. On June 28, 2019, for instance, the Indonesian Army's MI-17 helicopter also went missing after taking off from Oksibil, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua Province.

Factors, including erratic weather conditions and difficulties on ground due to inaccessibility to roads, had hindered the search operation for locating this helicopter. Consequently, search efforts were conducted through sweeping aerial operations.

The MI-17 helicopter, bearing registration number HA-5138, with 12 passengers and crew members onboard, had earlier flown to Okbibab to deliver logistics to soldiers serving in the area.

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Translator: Evarukdijati, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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