Jakarta – Rescuers have recovered a body from the waters off Pulau Lingga, in the Riau Islands, near the crash site of a police transport aircraft that went down on Saturday (Dec 3) morning, said local police.
Riau Islands police spokesman S. Erlangga, said in a statement issued at 11pm on Saturday local time, that the body was found by Basarnas, Indonesia’s national research and rescue agency, earlier at 5.55pm, and it will be brought to nearby Batam to be identified. Batam is an hour behind Singapore.
He also said there were a total of 13 people, including the pilot and crew, on the plane that crashed, even though earlier reports based on a flight manifest had stated 15.
Mr Erlangga said preliminary investigations indicate that there were 16 people on board, but three had disembarked at Pangkal Pinang, in the Bangka-Belitung Islands, before the plane left for Batam.
Some 16 vessels, two helicopters, one aircraft and 151 personnel have been mobilised to locate the survivors and recover the wreakage as of Sunday, he said, adding that the joint task force comprises the Basarnas, the coast guard, navy as well as the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Singapore.
The RCC is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by other agencies.
Search and rescue (SAR) operations first started shortly after the twin-engine aircraft operated by the Indonesian police lost radar contact with Singapore air traffic control in the country’s Flight Information Region at 11.22am Singapore time. Singapore has been managing flights over some areas in Riau since 1946.
CAAS said on Saturday that the plane took off at 10.24am Singapore time and was expected to arrive in Batam at 11.58am.
Local fishermen had found wreckage of the Polish-made M-28 Skytruck off Pulau Senayang, in Riau Islands province, at 11.30am local time.
“Before it plunged, a loud explosion was heard by local residents on the ground,” Tanjung Pinang Naval Base commander First Admiral S. Irawan told The Straits Times on Saturday.
There have been no reports of any survivors. The crash is the latest involving aircraft used by Indonesia’s armed forces or police.
Last Sunday, a Navy plane reportedly crash-landed the Leo Wattimena Air Force base in Morotai, North Maluku, with five crew members and nine passengers