Helicopter crash in south-central Indonesia kills 2

September 26th, 2011 - 9:10 pm ICT by BNO News  

SUMBAWA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — Two people were killed on early Sunday afternoon when a helicopter chartered by a mining company crashed in south-central Indonesia, officials said on Monday.

The helicopter, operated by Air Fast, was chartered by Indonesian mining company PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara. Contact with the aircraft was lost on Sunday at around 1:42 p.m. local time while it was traveling from a Newmont camp to Lamurung, located in the Ropang sub district of Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara Province, company officials told Antara news agency.

Police and military carried out a joint search operation and, on Monday at 11 a.m. local time, the 24-member team located the wreckage of the helicopter in a mountainous area located 2.5 kilometers (1.5 mile) from the village of Kemilas in Ropang sub district.

According to commander Lieutenant Colonel A Eko Mulyadi of the Sumbawa Military Region 1607, the team found the two burned bodies of the pilot and a passenger. They were identified as Captain Agus Khaeruddin, a resident of Bogor, West Java, and Load Master Ari Palimpung of Manado, North Sulawesi.

There have been a series of small aviation accidents in Indonesia in recent months. Last Thursday, a 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 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 prior to that, 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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