Military sends team to probe alleged missing helicopter debris

Military sends team to probe alleged missing helicopter debris

A spokesman of the Papua's Regional Military Command XVII/Cendrawasih Lt Col Inf Dax Sianturi. (ANTARA/HO-Regional Military Command XVII/Cendrawasih)

Regarding pictures of helicopter debris found by the locals in Oksop, Chief of the Regional Military Command XVII/Cendrawasih Maj. Gen (TNI) Herman Asaribab has ordered the nearest military unit to verify the information from residents
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Papua's Regional Military Command XVII/Cendrawasih has sent a team to verify reports on the finding of debris, allegedly belonging to the missing MI-17 military helicopter, in Oksop, Pegunungan Bintang District of Papua. "Regarding pictures of helicopter debris found by the locals in Oksop, Chief of the Regional Military Command XVII/Cendrawasih Maj. Gen (TNI) Herman Asaribab has ordered the nearest military unit to verify the information from residents," spokesman of the military command Lt. Col. Inf Dax Sianturi said in a statement here Wednesday.

The military would coordinate with some institutions including the Silas Papare Air Base, Papua Police, Papua Search and Rescue Agency, and Pegunungan Bintang District administration, to prepare an evacuation.

Pictures of helicopter debris have gone viral in Jayapura since Tuesday, February 4, showing the debris scattered in the forest with some residents standing near it.

Other photos showed a fuel drum with a brand or company name written on it, and four long-barreled firearms allegedly owned by the military.

The Indonesian Army helicopter MI-17 that had lost contact on June 28, 2019, in Papua, is still missing despite continuous search efforts.

Since the day it disappeared from radars, there have been consistent efforts to locate it with the help of a Bell Helicopter 206 and Bell Helicopter 412 bearing registration number HA-5177.

The MI-17 helicopter took off from Oksibil Airport at 11:44 a.m. local time on June 28, 2019, and at 11:48 a.m. contacted the airport's air traffic control (ATC) to report that it would ascend to 7,800 feet, six nautical miles toward the north. The pilot then said "thank you" at 11:49 a.m., and thereafter, all contact between him and the ATC was lost.

The helicopter, bearing registration number HA-5138, was carrying 12 passengers and crew, who had earlier flown to Okbibab in Papua to deliver logistics to soldiers serving in the area.

The crew members 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. (INE)

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