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Reports: Missing Indonesian Plane Crashed in Papua

Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of its closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Aug. 16, 2015.

An Indonesian passenger plane that went missing with 54 people aboard is reported to have crashed while flying through bad weather in the eastern province of Papua.

Residents of a village in Papua's Bintang district said they saw a plane flying low before crashing into a mountain Sunday.

Indonesian authorities said 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 suspended late Sunday because of darkness.

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.