A plane crash which occurred in mountainous eastern Indonesia, reportedly had a 12-year-old boy as its sole survivor, authorities said on Sunday.
The Dimonim Air passenger plane carrying nine people, lost contact with air traffic control on Saturday afternoon and was later found by local residents in Pegunungan Bintang district. The 2-year-old however suffered broken bones and was being treated at the local hospital.
“Eight passengers were found dead and one was found alive,” Papua military spokesman Lieutenant colonel Dax Sianturi said.
“At the moment the cause of the crash has not been confirmed,” he told AFP, adding an investigation would be carried out by the national transportation safety committee.
The plane, which was owned by private charter company Dimonim Air, was carrying seven passengers and two crew. And before the plane crash, villagers in nearby Okatem reported hearing a loud roar followed by an explosion.
Search and rescue teams walked two hours to reach the crash site and were still recovering the bodies late morning. Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years.
Planes 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 people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, ageing infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.
A similar crash was witnessed in 2015 in Papua, which is particularly a difficult area to reach. Last year also, five people were found dead after a small plane crashed in Indonesia’s Papua province. The Pilatus Porter PC-6 aircraft lost contact around mid-day just eight minutes after it took off from Wamena city, located in the eastern province’s mountainous region. It had been flying southwest toward neighbouring Nduga province.