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Indonesia Rescuers Fight Bad Weather in Search for Crashed Plane

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Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesian rescuers are fighting bad weather and fog in North Sumatra’s jungles as they try to reach a mountainside where an airplane with 18 people onboard crashed yesterday.

Rescuers in a helicopter, who spotted the Casa 212-200 plane today, couldn’t land because of the bad weather, Herry Bakti Gumay, the transport ministry’s aviation head, said in a phone interview from Jakarta. The nose of the aircraft appeared to be damaged and the door was open, he said.

One of the passengers on the plane called a relative saying all onboard were safe, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported today, citing a person it didn’t identify. Bambang Ervan, a spokesman at the transport ministry, declined to comment on the condition of the passengers as rescuers haven’t reached the site.

The 18-seat plane, operated by PT Nusantara Buana Air, was headed to Kutacane in Aceh province from Medan in North Sumatra when it crashed on Mount Bohorok. The site of the crash is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Medan, Ervan said today.

The aircraft, made by PT Dirgantara Indonesia in 1989, was due to land at about 8 a.m. yesterday after a 37-minute flight. The rescuers include workers from the planemaker and the national transport safety committee, according to Gumay.

Indonesia suffered three fatal plane crashes this year, based on Flight Safety Foundation data. The country’s air-safety operations fail to meet global standards, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

To contact the reporter on this story: Femi Adi in Jakarta at fadi1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Ahlstrand at gahlstrand@bloomberg.net

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