Saturday, May 7, 2011
Officials say 27 people are dead after a plane crashed into the sea off east Indonesia today. Fifteen bodies have been recovered and it is thought the others on board have sunk with the wreckage.
“I can confirm that all the passengers were killed when the plane exploded as it crashed into the sea,” an Indonesian navy official told local radio station ElShinta. He said around ten navy divers were sent to the Papua crash site 400 metres off-shore in six kilometres of water but “had difficulties locating them [trapped passengers] due to strong currents and limited equipment.”
|I can confirm that all the passengers were killed when the plane exploded as it crashed into the sea
Merpati Nusantara Airlines has not confirmed passenger numbers. A transport ministry spokesman said the ministry is “still checking on the passengers’ situation,” adding “the weather was pretty bad at the time [of the crash].” Built by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the propellor-driven MA60 was 500 metres from a runway when it crashed, according to airport officials.
The nation of islands has heavy use of aviation and a poor safety record, including the crash of an Adam Air jet in 2007 that killed 102 people near Sulawesi. The European Commission had banned all Indonesian airlines from entering it, but two years ago flag carrier Garuda Indonesia was deemed to have improved and allowed to enter.