Hope for 18 missing in Indonesia plane crash

Rescuers trying to reach a plane that crashed in the mountains of western Indonesia have spotted the wreckage.

Medan: Rescuers trying to reach a plane that crashed in the mountains of western Indonesia said on Friday there still may be survivors, after spotting the wreckage intact with one of its doors opened.

Eighteen people were onboard the Spanish-designed CASA C-212 when it lost contact with air traffic control halfway through its 30-minute flight between North Sumatra and Aceh provinces early Thursday.

Minutes later, the turboprop-powered aircraft sent out a distress signal and then dropped off the radar.

Rescuers have so far been unable to reach the crash site near the mountainous village of Bahorok because of rugged terrain and torrential rains.

Wreckage of the aircraft — spotted during an aerial survey on Thursday and again on Friday — appeared to be largely intact, wings still fused to the body, said Robur Rizallianto, a safety manager with the airline, PT Nusantara Buana Air.

"One of its doors is open," he said.

There were no signs of the 14 passengers — four of them children — and four crew members. But it provided rescuers with some hope that there are survivors inside.

It`s also possible the door opened on impact, said Sunarbowo Sandi, head of the local search and rescue team.

The aircraft, made in Indonesia in 1989, was last inspected on Sept. 22, said Rizallianto. It was in good condition, he said, and a check ahead of takeoff Thursday also came up clean.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelagic nation of 240 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, from plane and train crashes to ferry sinkings. Many are blamed on overcrowding and poor safety standards.

Bureau Report

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