Jakarta: A helicopter chartered by the
Indonesian arm of US mining company Freeport-McMoRan crashed
on Saturday in remote Papua province with a New Zealand pilot and
two Indonesian passengers on board, police said.
The PK Airfast ODA helicopter crashed in Mimika district,
where Freeport operates its giant Grasberg gold and copper
"The helicopter left at 8:12 am (0442 IST) and was flown
by New Zealand citizen Srirama Trisnan carrying two
passengers," Timika police chief Denny Siregar told AFP.
"There was bad weather conditions, so the pilot tried to
turn back, but the tower lost contact with him at 8:30 am
The two passengers were Freeport Indonesia contract
workers, the company spokesman Ramdani Sirait said.
"At around 11:00 am (0730 IST) we received a report of an
incident involving a helicopter used by an exploration team in
a valley around mile post 73 in Mimika," Sirait said.
"Freeport Indonesia`s safety team is in the area for the
search and rescue process and will take necessary actions in
accordance to the company`s safety standards."
The sprawling Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air
transport and has a poor aviation record, particularly in
mountainous remote areas such as Papua.
In September, an Australian and a Slovak pilot were killed
when their small Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft went down
carrying fuel and food to Papua.
Another small aircraft, which was also transporting
supplies to remote villages for a Christian humanitarian
association in Papua, crashed two weeks later, killing its
American pilot and two passengers. (AFP)