JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — A 12-year-old boy is the only survivor from the crash of a light commercial plane in a mountainous region of Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua that left eight other passengers dead, rescuers said Sunday.
The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Porter single-engine plane operated by Dimonin Air was reported missing Saturday during a 45-minute flight from Tanah Merah in Boven Digul district to Oksibil, the district capital of Pegunungan Bintang, bordering Papua New Guinea. The local army chief said Sunday the plane crashed near Oksibil airport.
Col. Jonathan Binsar Sianipar said the boy, identified only as Jumaidi, was the only passenger found alive and was evacuated to the Oksibil hospital. A statement from the army said the boy was conscious but gave no other details.
The plane with two pilots and seven passengers lost contact after communicating with the control tower in Oksibil just before it was due to land Saturday afternoon, said local police chief Lt. Col. Michael Mumbunan.
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The cause of the crash was not clear.
Airplanes are the only practical way of accessing many areas in the mountainous and jungle-clad easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.