Jayapura: A 12-year-old boy is the only survivor in a light commercial plane crash in the mountainous region of Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua that left eight other passengers dead, rescuers said on Sunday.
The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Porter single-engine plane, operated by Dimonin Air, was reported missing on 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 on Sunday the plane crashed near Oksibil airport.
Colonel Jonathan Binsar Sianipar said the boy, identified only as Jumaidi, was the only passenger found alive and was taken to Oksibil hospital. A statement from the army said the boy was conscious but gave no other details.
The plane, carrying 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 Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Mumbunan.
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 inhabitants, has been plagued by transport accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, ageing infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.