Pilatus Foster aircraft crashes in Minahasa Utara

Minahasa Utara, North Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - A Pilatus Porter plane belonging to Elang Nusantara Air crashed in Minahasa Utara waters on Tuesday.

According to the head of the search and rescue office in Manado, Marsono, two persons, pilot Ronny Jastril and engineer Fian Sophian, are feared killed in the incident although a search for their bodies are still on.

"The site of the crash has been located and a team of rescuers from Basarnas (National Search and Rescue Agency), the navy, marine police and local fishermen are searching for the two," he said.

He noted that the team has also been searching the plane wreckage and has recovered marine detectors for evacuation.

"The team has so far discovered two plane tires, tail, and two backpacks, believed to be of the missing persons," he added.

Marsono pointed out that the plane was flying from Gorontalo to Ternate but had to be diverted to Manado due to bad weather.

"Around 10.02 a.m., the plane lost contact and crashed in Kema waters," he added.

He remarked that all efforts were focused on finding the bodies of the pilot and engineer.

Meanwhile, a helicopter carrying 14 passengers was forced to land in a remote area in the hinterlands of Papua in the countrys eastern region due to bad weather.

A joint search and rescue (SAR) team on Monday rescued all of the 14 passengers aboard the Indonesian Navys Super Puma helicopter that was forced to make an emergency landing on Nov. 28.

The 14 passengers are undergoing medical treatment in Tentara Marthen Indey Hospital, Jayapura, Major Sus Juni Kurniawati, a spokesman for the Jayapura airforce base, said here on Tuesday.

"The passengers are under treatment in T Marthen Indey Hospital,"

The ill-fated helicopter, which was piloted by Major Pnb Apu Tarigan, was flying from Sentani to Kiwirok when it was hindered by bad weather.

The joint SAR team had to walk for three hours from Pending kampong, Kiwirok sub-district, Pegunungan Bintang District, to reach the grounded helicopter.

Reporting by Melky Rudolf Tumiwa