U.S. pilot among three killed in small plane crash in Indonesia

September 22nd, 2011 - 9:39 pm ICT by BNO News  

JAYAPURA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — A small aircraft crashed in a remote area in the eastern Indonesian province of Papua on Thursday afternoon, killing three people, including a U.S. national, officials said.

The single-engine Pilatus PC-6 aircraft, operated by Yajasi Aviation, crashed in the mountainous area of Paspalei region in Papua’s Yalimo regency after losing contact with the control tower at around 1:13 p.m. local time.

The three people on board the aircraft were confirmed dead, including two unidentified passengers, and a U.S. pilot, identified as Paul Weslund. According to reports, the aircraft took off from Pagai in Yalimo District and was heading toward Wamena in the Jayawijaya District, carrying goods and supplies to the remote area.

About two weeks ago, a Cessna 108 B Grand Caravan operated by Indonesia’s Susi Air crashed in the same region. It was piloted by Dave Coots from Australia, along with his co-pilot Thomas Munk of Slovakia. A similar story was involved as they were carrying supplies to the remote area of Kenyam, in Papua’s Nduga District.

Only one day after the accident, an Indonesian Army helicopter crashed with five people on board. The Bell 412 helicopter had taken off from Timika Airport in Mimika Regency of Papua province at around 2.45 p.m. local time on September 10 to search for the ill-fated aircraft.

About an hour after the rescue helicopter had taken off, at around 3.51 p.m. local time, the air traffic control tower lost contact with the aircraft. It was later reported that the chopper had made an emergency landing, and its five crew members were safe.

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