• Small plane with 10 passengers lost contact on Friday
  • Helicopters, 300 personnel fail to find plane over weekend

Indonesian rescuers will continue searching Monday for a small passenger plane that went missing Friday with 10 passengers on board, after efforts to find the plane over the weekend were unsuccessful.

Heronimus Guru, deputy operations director of Indonesia’s Basarnas search agency, said nearly 300 people were deployed Sunday searching the area near Suli and Siwa in South Sulawesi province. Two helicopters were assisting the search, which focused on ground areas as the weather turned foggy, he told reporters by text message.

A Twin Otter plane similar to the one reported missing, Sultan Hasanuddin airport, Indonesia, on Oct 3.
A Twin Otter plane similar to the one reported missing, Sultan Hasanuddin airport, Indonesia, on Oct 3.
Photographer: Masyudi S. Firmansyah/AP Photo

The DHC-6 Twin Otter plane operated by PT Aviastar Mandiri lost contact with ground staff Friday afternoon en route to Makassar, the capital of Sulawesi, from Masamba in South Sulawesi.

The disappearance is the latest setback for an Indonesian aviation sector that has struggled with accidents and poor oversight. A plane operated by PT Trigana Air Service crashed in Papua province in August, killing 54 people on board. In June, at least 141 were killed when an Indonesian Air Force plane carrying civilians crashed in Sumatra. A flight operated by AirAsia Bhd.’s Indonesian unit crashed into the Java Sea in late December, killing all 162 people on board.

"Our search and rescue operation today failed," Henry Bambang Soelistyo, who heads Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said Saturday in remarks quoted by The Associated Press. "Until now we have not yet been able to find out the approximate location of the crash."

The DHC Otter’s last known position was about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from Masamba, the AP reported.

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