Small plane loses contact in Indonesia, search operation initiated

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Jakarta : A small plane with several people on board lost contact on Wednesday in Papua province of eastern Indonesia and a search operation was underway, the Indonesian Transport Ministry said.

"The cargo plane lost contact today (Wednesday). Now we are checking the number of crew," Transport Ministry spokesman J.A. Barata told Xinhua by phone.

Marsudi, a spokesman of the national search and rescue office, said the C208 Caravan plane was en route to Wajo and Sentani.

It departed at 2.45 p.m. (local time) and was scheduled to arrive at 3:24 p.m.

"The plane sent S.O.S. message during the flight," Marsudi said.

"Search and rescue for the plane is underway now, involving a plane and personnel from local search and rescue office. But the weather seems unfavourable," he said.