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Indonesian Plane Carrying 54 Missing

Indonesia soldiers and rescue personnel put a coffin of a passenger of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 into the cargo compartment of a Trigana airplane, file photo.

An Indonesian passenger plane with 54 people aboard went missing Sunday while flying through bad weather in the eastern province of Papua.

Locals from a village in Papua's Bintang district said they saw a plane flying low before crashing into a mountain.

Indonesian authorities say rescuers have been sent to the remote area and will begin searching there Monday morning.

Trigana Air Flight 267 lost contact with air traffic control Sunday about 30 minutes after takeoff from Sentani airport in Papua's capital, Jayapura. The plane was on what is normally a 50-minute flight to the city of Oksibil.

Aviation officials say 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members were on the turboprop plane.

Search efforts were called off after dark late Sunday.

Search resumes Monday

The Sentani Air Force Base commander said authorities have mapped out the area around the flight path for when search efforts resume Monday.

Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains.

Trigana operates domestically in Indonesia.

According to the Aviation Safety Network's online database, Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991.


Indonesia has had two major crashes in the past year.

In December 2014, an AirAsia flight went down in the Java Sea, killing all 162 on board. The government introduced regulations aimed at improving safety after that crash.

In July, Indonesia's president promised a review of the aging air force fleet after a military transport plane crashed in the north of the country, killing more than 100 people.

VOA's Indonesian service contributed to this report. Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.