18 Apr 2005

Wreckage of missing plane spotted in Indonesia's Papua

1:29 pm on 18 April 2005

The wreckage of a small passenger plane that crashed last week in the Indonesia province of Papua has been found.

The 19-seat Twin Otter aircraft went missing last Tuesday during a flight along Papua's central mountainous interior.

The police chief in the town of Timika, Paulus Waterpauw, told the Jakarta Post there was little chance the 17 people on board were still alive.

Mr Waterpauw said the tail of the wreckage was spotted yesterday by a passing airplane among the trees, near the small mountain town of Enarotali, some 110 kilometres away from the plane's destination.

A seven-member rescue team, including elite paramilitary police troops, had been airdropped by two helicopters to the site to see whether there were any survivors.

But Mr Waterpauw said the airplane appeared to have hit the mountain and caught fire.

The search for the missing plane had been hindered by bad weather.