3 Aug 2009

Plane carrying 16 people missing in Papua's mountains

10:50 am on 3 August 2009

A plane carrying 16 people has gone missing in a mountainous area of Indonesia's Papua province.

Transport safety chief, Herry Bhakti Singayuda, told AFP that the

Merpati Airlines plane carrying 13 passengers and three crew was flying from Jayapura to Oksibil town when it lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday.

All those onboard were understood to be Indonesian.

Indonesia, which relies heavily on air links across the archipelago, has one of Asia's worst air safety records.

he European Union banned all Indonesian-registered aircraft from flying over its airspace in June 2007, acting on a report from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which criticised the country's safety standards.

The European Commission last month had taken Garuda Airlines and three other Indonesian carriers off its aviation blacklist after air transport authorities addressed safety concerns.