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Rescuers find Twin Otter that crashed in Indonesian highlands

Indonesian authorities have pinpointed the location of the Aviastar Airlines' de Havilland Canada Twin Otter cargo aircraft that crashed yesterday.

National Transport Safety Commission (NTSC) investigator Frans Wenas says: "This morning they pinpointed the crash site."

The site is near Wamena in West Papua province, the remote eastern province of Indonesia.

The Aviastar Twin Otter, local registration PK-BRO, had its last radio contact at 1854 yesterday as it was approaching Wamena, says an Avistar official who wishes to remain anonymous.

It was suppose to be the pilots' last flight for the day, he says.

"They told the Wamena control tower they were at 9,000ft and approaching Wamena but they were actually in cloud," says the official.

There was rain and heavy cloud cover at the time of the crash, he says.

The aircraft was suppose to fly through the Baliem Valley to reach Wamena airport, says the official, adding that on the right side of the valley are some of the highest peaks in West Papua. Wamena is in the central highlands of West Papua.

Authorities found the aircraft wreckage at 0545 today and are now using helicopters to winch rescuers down "to find the victims," he says.

There were three people on the Twin Otter, all aircrew, he adds. Currently no survivors have been found.

Aviastar is a charter airline that operates four Twin Otters, including the one that crashed.

It also had a British Aerospace 146-300 but it crashed in April near Wamena airport.

The Aviastar official says the carrier is buying a BAe 146-200 that it is due to receive on 10 July.

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