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Indonesia plane crashes in bad weather; 4 dead

January 19, 2014

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A light aircraft crashed Sunday in bad weather in eastern Indonesia and burst into flames, killing four people on board, a government official said.

The Piper PA-34 Seneca owned by PT Intan Angkasa Air Service took off Sunday from Sentani town of Papua province and crashed into a paddy field near a housing complex in Tual on the Molucca Islands, said Indonesia’s transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan. There were four Indonesian crewmembers aboard.

Ervan said a pilot, a technician and two ground staffers of the company on their way to Surabaya city on the country’s main island of Java, for a routine inspection of the U.S.-made twin engine plane.

He said the pilot made a contact with the control tower minutes before the crash, but did not indicate any problems when asking to land to refuel in the Tual airport during heavy downpours.

The bodies of the four men were recovered from the charred wreckage Sunday afternoon and authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelagic nation of 240 million, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years. Overcrowding, aging infrastructure and poor safety standards are often to blame.

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