New Zealand pilot in Indonesia helicopter crash
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Last Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 00:06
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 mine.

"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 (0500 IST)."

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)


First Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 00:06

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