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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 17:10 GMT
Indonesia hunts for missing plane
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Indonesia's navy says it has found two possible locations for a passenger aircraft which is believed to have crashed near the island of Sulawesi.

Contact was lost with the Adam Air plane midway through its flight from Java to Sulawesi's north-eastern tip.

The Boeing 737-400 has 96 passengers and six crew on board.

The naval commander heading the rescue told the BBC distress signals were sent from both a forest on Sulawesi and a point offshore in the Makassar Strait.

Weather halts search

The aircraft reportedly left Surabaya in Java at 1300 local time (0600 GMT) on a two-hour flight to Manado in northern Sulawesi.

It was not clear why contact was lost, and there was no information as yet on the condition of the plane or its passengers, Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa said.

Military aeroplanes and government helicopters are being marshalled to assist with the rescue operation.

But the BBC's Lucy Williamson, in Jakarta, says the search has been suspended until early in the morning because of bad weather.

The area has been subjected to high winds and severe storms in the last few days. About 400 people are still missing after a passenger ship sank off Java on Saturday morning.

Officials said contact was lost at 35,000ft, when the plane was an hour away from its destination.

Our correspondent says Indonesia has a chequered flight safety record including several major crashes.

Last year almost 150 people were killed when a plane crashed into a busy road shortly after taking off from Medan on the island of Sumatra.

In Manado, capital of North Sulawesi province, hundreds of people gathered at the airport seeking information about their missing relatives.

Justin Tumurang, 25, was waiting at the airport to pick up her twin sister, but she never arrived.

"Being a twin, we share almost every feeling. I felt something was not right, and it grew worse. Now I feel pain," news agency AP quoted her as saying.

Adam Air, a privately owned low-cost airline based in Jakarta, began operations in 2003.




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