JAKARTA – A helicopter on a search-and-rescue mission has crashed on Mount Butak in Central Java, killing the four crew and four search and rescue personnel, according to online media reports.
They quoted National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief for Central Java, Agus Haryono, as saying the bodies were found in the wreckage of the Dauphin AS 36165 aircraft that crashed yesterday on the mountain in Temanggung.
The bodies were taken to the Bhayangkara Semarang Hospital, he said, adding that four of the bodies were found yesterday and the other four this morning.
The dead had been identified as the pilot and co-pilot, Haryanto and Li Solihin respectively, the two other crew Hari Marsono and Budi Santoso, and the Basarnas personnel Maulana Afandi, Nyoto Purwanto, Budi Resti and Catur.
The helicopter was reported missing at 4 pm yesterday, several minutes after taking off from the Basarnas Central Java operations centre on the search-and-rescue mission to the Sileri Crater area in Dieng in the Banjarnegara District in Central Java.
The helicopter, one of the best aircraft used by Basarnas in search and rescue missions, is believed to have crashed onto a cliff that was covered in thick mist.
The Sileri Crater reportedly spewed volcanic ash for up to over 50 metres high yesterday, and the authorities ordered residents in an area of 100 metres radiius to evacuate immediately.
The crater is a nature tourism destination in the Dieng Plateau because visitors can peek into the crater and see the boiling surface water.
The volcano has erupted several times. An eruption in 1979 caused the deaths of 149 people who had inhaled the poisonous emission. – BERNAMA