Saturday, 7 May 2011

Indonesia:plane crashes off Papua

There were no survivors of the crash of an Indonesian passenger plane into the sea with up to 27 people aboard, a navy officer said.

The plane went to sea in bad weather shortly before the runway serving the small port of Kaimana, in the eastern province of West Papua.

Fifteen bodies have been recovered by rescuers searching for survivors.

The Indonesian archipelago is heavily dependent on air transport and has one of the worst air safety records in Asia.

"I can confirm that all passengers were slain when the plane exploded as it crashed into the sea," the unnamed naval officer, who participated in the search and rescue operation, told ElShinta radio.

"The aircraft was beaten to pieces ... We have found 15 bodies floating on the water and the other passengers are trapped in the wreck."

Ministry of Transport official Bambang Being told AFP news agency there were 21 passengers and six crew members aboard the twin turbo-prop aircraft operated by Merpati Airlines, which flew from the coastal city of Sorong.

Indonesia has seen a number of commercial airline crashes in recent years.

In 2007, the European Union banned all Indonesian airlines including national carrier Garuda.

In 2009, Garuda and three other carriers taken from the EU list, but remains on Merpati Airlines.


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