The fate of a Trigana Air ATR 42-300 remains unknown one day after its disappearance while operating a 55 minute flight in a mountainous region of eastern Papua.
In a tweet, Indonesia’s transport ministry said it has established a search area of several square miles to the north of the central Indonesian town Oksibil, where the ATR was bound after departing Jayapura’s Sentani airport at 14:22 local time on 16 August, carrying 49 passengers and five crew.
Indonesia’s transport minister has also headed to Jayapura, where Indonesian search and rescue agency Basarnas has a crisis centre.
Previously, the transport ministry said the aircraft had been found, but this assessment appears to have been premature. Flightglobal was unable to contact Basarnas officials by phone to confirm the status of the search.
Satellite images from Google Earth show the terrain around Oksibil to be mountainous and covered in tropical rain forest.
The lost aircraft, registered PK-YRN, was of 1988 vintage. Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows the aircraft was operated by US regional carrier Trans States Airlines until 2003, when it was parked.
Mitsui & Company (USA) assumed ownership in 2003, and sold it to Nordic Aviaton Capital in 2004, which leased it to Trigana in 2005. Trigana took full ownership in 2007.