Update as of 11:45 p.m. EDT: Debris spotted Monday in a remote part of eastern Indonesia, after a Trigana Air plane with 54 people on board went missing Sunday, will be double-checked, an official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"Early this morning, a plane swept the route and sighted debris in an area near Oksibil, but we want to double-check now," transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told AFP.
Rescuers were on their way to the site where the wreckage has been spotted, about 7 miles from Oksibil, which is just south of Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. The ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura's Sentani Airport to Oksibil.
The region is "a mountainous area where the weather is very unpredictable. It can suddenly turn foggy, dark and windy without warning. We strongly suspect it's a weather issue. It is not overcapacity, as the plane could take 50 passengers," Capt. Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air's service director of operations, told AFP.
UPDATE 9:30 p.m. EDT: A search plane Monday spotted the wreckage of a Trigana Air Service plane that disappeared near the provincial capital of Papua, Indonesia, the Associated Press reported. The plane carrying 54 people went down Sunday on a flight from Jayapura to Oksibil.
The Indonesian Transportation Ministry said the wreckage was about 7 miles from Oksibil. Rescue crews were en route by air and on foot.
Villagers in the Bintang district of Papua province, Indonesia, found the wreckage of a Trigana Air Service plane that went missing. The residents of the area found pieces of the Indonesian carrier's flight TGN267 in the mountains Sunday, according to the Indonesian transportation ministry, Voice of America reported.
The ATR 42-300 plane was flying from Jayapura's Sentani Airport to Oksibil, just south of Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. It crashed Sunday while flying through bad weather. There were 54 people on the plane, including 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members, according to aviation officials. It is unclear if there are any survivors.
Indonesian authorities said rescuers traveled Sunday to the remote area to prepare to begin a search Monday.
The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief Bambang Soelystyo said in interviews with various news outlets Sunday that the plane lost contact 33 minutes after it took off. It was only supposed to take 50 minutes for the plane to reach its destination in Oksibil.
Following the loss of contact, aviation officials dispatched a helicopter to search for the plane, but it turned back at sundown. A second plane, which had been sent to look for the missing one, was forced to turn back because of dangerous flying conditions.
Trigana Air has suffered 14 serious incidents since beginning operations in 1991. The European Union blacklisted the carrior in 2007, according to BBC.
There have been two major air disasters in the past year in Indonesia. Last December, an AirAsia plane crashed in the Java Sea, killing all 192 people on board. In July, a military transport plane crashed in a residential area of Medan, killing 140 people. Following that incident, Indonesia's president promised a review of the aging air force fleet, according to Al Jazeera.