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Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Sunday, 2 August 2009 10:28 UK

Plane disappears over Indonesia

Map of Indonesia, showing the Papua region

A plane with 16 people on board has gone missing over the remote Papua region of eastern Indonesia.

The journey, from Jayapura to Oksibil, usually takes 50 minutes. The region is thickly forested. Some planes that crashed there have never been found.

Three crew and 13 passengers, including two babies, were on board. The search and rescue operation is being hampered by bad weather.

Indonesian airlines have been widely criticised for their safety records.

The Twin Otter plane, owned by the Merpati Nusantara airline, lost contact with air traffic control about 40 minutes into its flight.

Two weeks ago, the EU took four Indonesian airlines - Garuda, Mandala Airlines, Airfast Indonesia and Premiair - off its list of carriers banned from entering its airspace, citing "considerable improvements".

But all other Indonesian airlines remain on the list.

Indonesians rely heavily on air transport to travel around the country's 18,000 islands.



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