Aircraft carrying 18 goes missing

2011-09-29 08:40

Jakarta - A small aircraft with 18 people on board went missing in Indonesia's Sumatra island on Thursday, a transport ministry spokesperson said.

The Cassa 212, carrying 15 passengers and three crew, was flying from Medan city in North Sumatra to the nearby province of Aceh when it lost contact with air traffic control, Bambang Ervan said.

"It took off at 07:18 (00:18GMT) and was supposed to land at 08:00," the spokesperson said, adding that a search and rescue team was trying to find the aircraft.

"We still don't know yet whether there are foreigners on board," he said.

A helicopter chartered by US giant Newmont Mining crashed on Sunday in central Indonesia, killing two people on board.

Early this month, an Australian and a Slovak pilot were killed when their small Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, which was carrying fuel and food to a remote area in Papua province, went down.

Another small aircraft, which was also transporting supplies to remote villages for a Christian humanitarian association in Papua, crashed last week, killing its American pilot and two passengers.

The sprawling Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air transport and has a poor aviation record.