Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Transportation Ministry temporarily closed the Paro Sub-district Airfield (Lapter) in Nduga District, Papua Province, after the Susi Air PK-BVY aircraft attack incident on Tuesday.

"The Paro Airfield is still temporarily closed due to the position of the damaged plane that is located in the middle of the airfield, (thereby) making it impossible to operate flights to or from Paro," the ministry's spokesperson Adita Irawati noted in a press statement received here on Wednesday.

Irawati remarked that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, through the Head of Merauke Region X Airport Authority Office, continues to coordinate and monitor developments in the Susi Air plane attack case.

"Until now, the exact whereabouts of the pilot and passengers on the plane are not known," Irawati stated.

Responding to this incident, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation took steps to further improve security, she remarked.

First, airport administrators should always coordinate with local security forces and be more vigilant by checking entry permits for people before entering the restricted security area of the airport.

"Second, air transport operators should carry out more intensive checks on passengers by checking their boarding passes and checking personal identities and checking luggage for flight safety," she stated.

Third, all airfields located in Nduga District, which have been managed by the regional government, must be selective and always coordinate with security forces in terms of granting flight permits.

Earlier, Susi Air's plane, with flight number SI 9368, was torched by an armed group at the Paro Sub-district Airfield on Tuesday morning.

The Pilatus Porter-type aircraft had departed from Timika at 5:33 local time and was scheduled to return to Moses Kilangin Airport in Timika at 7:40 local time.

New Zealand national, Captain Philips M, the pilot of the Susi Air aircraft, carried onboard five passengers: Demanus Gwijangge, Minda Gwijangge, Pelenus Gwijangge, Meita Gwijangge, and Wetina W.

The representative from Susi Air, Donal Fariz, said that the aircraft, carrying five passengers and luggage, with a total payload of 452 kilograms, lost contact on Tuesday at 6:35 local time at Paro Airfield during a flight on the Timika-Paro-Timika route.

Two hours later, Susi Air located the plane's Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) in an active position at 9:12 local time. The company then conducted the protocol for an internal emergency situation by sending another aircraft to check the plane's position and found that it had been set on fire on the airfield's runway.

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Translator: Benardy Ferdiansyah, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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