Indonesian military plane disappears

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Map of Indonesia

A Casa-212 aircraft owned by the Indonesian air force disappeared while on a flight from the capital Jakarta to Bogor in West Java Friday morning.

The plane was carrying 12 Indonesian military personnel and 6 civilians including a British, Singaporean and Indian national.

The plane was tasked to test a new digital camera designed to conduct aerial mapping and topography.

The aircraft was last sighted on radar in the Salak moutain region on the main island of Java, 90 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the Indonesian capital.

The Indonesian military has deployed a search and rescue team in the area.

Authorities fear that the aircraft crashed in a densely forested area making any rescue difficult.

Air Force spokesman Chaeruddin Ray said the region was covered in thick fog and in a rough terrain.

Three planes and forty people were deployed into the region to look for the downed plane.

Indonesia has been plagued with several plane accidents resulting in a ban on the entry of Indonesian airlines into European airports. This is the second incident in Indonesian aviation involving a Casa-212. In January of 2008, a similar plane model owned by a private company also crashed.

The Casa-212 is a design by Spanish avionics company Construcciones Aeronáuticas, a turbo-prop plane designed for a short take-off and landing.

The Spanish company licensed an Indonesian avionics firm to assemble and manufacture this aircraft.