Indonesia rescue chopper makes emergency landing

AP News
Posted: Sep 11, 2011 2:37 AM
Indonesia rescue chopper makes emergency landing

A rescue helicopter made an emergency landing while on a mission to find two missing foreign pilots whose plane went down in eastern Indonesia, a military spokesman said Sunday. No one was injured.

Indonesian military spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul said bad weather and thick fog had led the Bell 412 carrying five Indonesian soldiers landed in the mountain of Rumpius Karvak in remote Papua province Saturday afternoon.

The helicopter was initially reported as having crashed after it lost contact with authorities about 20 minutes after it took off from the mining town of Timika.

He said that all the soldiers _ who on a mission to find two missing foreign pilots after their plane went down _ were save, and their helicopter has savely arrived in nearby town of Wamena at around noon Sunday.

The pilots, identified as Australian David Cootes and Thomas Munk of Slovakia, went missing after their plane, a Cessna 208-B Caravan carrying four drums of fuel and foods disappeared Friday.

Rescuers have spotted the wreckage of the single engine aircraft, belonging to Susi Air, in the mountains of Yahukimo district. Weather has prevented them from reaching the pilots, who are feared dead.

Air flight is the main transportation in Papua, the second biggest of Indonesia's more than 17,000 islands.

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