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Plane carrying 16 disappears in Indonesia

A PLANE carrying 16 people disappeared over eastern Indonesia today, an airline official said.

The Twin Otter plane was on a commercial flight in the remote Papua region when it lost contact with ground officials, said Capt. Nikmatullah, the director of operations of the airline operating the plane, Merpati Nusantara.

Nikmatullah, who goes by a single name, said no trace had been found of the plane more then four hours after it took off. The aircraft was carrying enough fuel to keep it in the air for 3 1/2 hours, he told Metro TV station.

The plane was on a 50-minute journey from Sentani, a major airport in Papua, to the town of Oksibil, he said.

Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. In the past, crashed planes have never been found.

Indonesia, a nation of more than 18,000 islands, has seen a string of air crashes in recent years.


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