Bad weather impairs Mi-17 chopper crash victims' evacuation in Papua

Bad weather impairs Mi-17 chopper crash victims' evacuation in Papua

An Mi-17 helicopter. (ANTARA/HO/Penerangan Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih/h-fdh)

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Efforts to evacuate victims of an Mi-17 helicopter that crashed on Mount Mandala, Oksob Sub-district, Pegunungan Bintang District, Papua Province, were hindered by bad weather, according to an official.

In addition to the bad weather, difficult terrain posed an obstacle to the evacuation operation, Col. Infantry Binsar Sianipar, commander of the military regional command (Korem) 172/PWY, stated here on Tuesday.

The ill-fated helicopter is believed to be in a mountainous area at 12,500 feet above sea level, with a slope of around 90 degrees, or perpendicular.

A helicopter, earlier deployed to locate the Mi-17 helicopter, managed to spot it only once while being airborne and was compelled to return to Oksibil owing to bad weather, Sianipar stated, adding that most likely, the rescuers must head to the location on foot.

Mapping was being conducted to find the closest point to drop personnel for the evacuation operation.

The military has also sought assistance from local residents aware of the way to the location.

"Aerial and land evacuation will very likely continue on Wednesday (Feb 12) by deploying three Indonesian Army helicopters and a civilian helicopter belonging to Demonim Air," Sianipar remarked.

The Russia-made military helicopter, operated by the Indonesian Army Aviation Center, with 12 passengers aboard, including five members of the 725 Infantry Battalion/WRG, went missing during its flights from Oksibil to Sentani, Papua, on June 28, 2019. Related news: 60 Army personnel readied to evacuate victims of MI 17 chopper
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