Police chief among 27 dead in plane crash

WEST PAPUA, INDONESIA - A Merpati MA 60 Airplane crashed into the sea near the Utarung Kaimana Airport, West Papua, at approximately 2 p.m. As many as 27 people, including the pilot, reportedly died.

"We are conducting recovery operations. We will provide more information shortly," Kaimana police chief Sr. Adj. Comr. Antonius Wantri Julianto said Saturday.

The plane reportedly had been circling for around 15 minutes before finally plunging into the sea

"We do not yet know if it was due to bad weather or not because the investigation is still underway," Antonius said.

He added that the search for victims is ongoing, although as many as 15 passengers have already been found dead.

"The Search and Rescue Team is combing the area," he said.

The Kaimana police chief of operations Adj. Comr, Teddy Effendy and his family were among the victims of the crash.

"Our colleague who died is Adj. Comr. Teddy Effendy. He was the chief of operations for the Kaimana police. His wife and child also died," Papua police spokesman Sr. Comr. Wachyono said.

The airplane was carrying 27 people, all of whom are now presumed dead after the plane reportedly broke into pieces during a crash landing. Wachyono added that some of the victims who had been recovered were children.

"Presumably everyone is dead. The remains of those evacuated might be placed near the airport because the location of the accident was nearby the airport," he said.

The airplane fell approximately 500 meters before the runway, reportedly due to bad weather.

-The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network