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Rescuers find passenger alive after Indonesia chopper crash

October 13, 2015

MEDAN, Indonesia (AP) — A helicopter crash survivor was found floating on plants in Indonesia’s largest lake Tuesday and told rescuers the four other people on board also survived by jumping before the craft hit the water Sunday.

About 200 rescuers were searching on Tuesday evening for the four others.

The survivor told rescuers that all five had stayed together, floating on water hyacinth about 2 miles from Samosir island, until Monday evening when the current separated them, said Heronimus Guru, the deputy operation director at the National Search and Rescue Agency.

The Eurocopter EC-130 was on a chartered flight from the island in Toba Lake to North Sumatra province’s capital, Medan, when it was reported missing about 17 minutes after takeoff.

The chopper, operated by air transportation company PT Penerbangan Angkasa Semesta, was carrying two crewmen and three passengers.

Guru said Fransiskus Subihardayan, 22, was found Tuesday afternoon about 2 miles from the Onan Runggu port.

“He was found naked and very weak, floating on water hyacinth on the lake,” said Guru, adding that the survivor was rushed to a clinic and now is in a stable condition.

It was the second recent air accident in Indonesia. Earlier this month a DHC-6 Twin Otter plane crashed in eastern Indonesia, killing all 10 people on board.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of about 250 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, including plane and train crashes and ferry sinkings. The country’s airline market is expanding rapidly but struggles to obtain qualified pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers, and modern airport technology.

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