Rimbun Air De Havilland Twin Otter Crashes In Indonesia

A Rimbun Air Twin Otter has crashed into trees near the airport at Intan Jaya in Indonesia. The aircraft was performing a freight flight this morning from Nabire to Intan Jaya, and approached the airport in thick fog. Having instigated a go-around, the aircraft disappeared from radar and was later found in a state of total destruction.

Rimbun Air Twin Otter
A Rimbun Air Twin Otter has crashed in Indonesia. Photo: Rimbun Air

DHC Twin Otter completely destroyed

A Rimbun Air De Havilland Twin Otter was undertaking a flight from Nabire to Bilogai-Sugapa Airport, both on Papua, Indonesia, this morning. Onboard were three crew members and a cargo of building materials destined for Intan Jaya.

The aircraft was on approach at just before 07:30 local time but encountered thick fog as it neared the airport. The crew initiated a go-around at 07:22. Witnesses at the airport report hearing a loud noise and the sound of trees falling a short while later, but the aircraft was never seen.

Having lost contact with air control in Sugapa at 07:37, authorities launched a search for the plane. With dense forest around the airport, it was easier to search from above than to attempt a search on foot. After some time, a chartered helicopter reported that it had discovered the crash site, having identified parts of a plane believed to be the Rimbun Air Twin Otter.

Video of the crash site shows one of the aircraft’s wings lodged in trees. The cockpit is completely destroyed, suggesting the aircraft hit the ground nose-first.

According to local media, there was initially hopes the survivors could be found. It would take some time for a rescue team to reach the crash site, however. Head of Public Relations of the Papua Police, Kombes Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, told reporters,

“The plane crashed in the hills, so the joint team is currently heading to the location. Hopefully in the next 2 to 3 hours they will arrive at the location and immediately evacuate.”

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The aircraft involved in the incident was registered PK-OTW, a 45.3-year-old DHC-6-300 flown by Rimbun Air since February this year. It was initially delivered to the US Department of Energy in June 1976 but was withdrawn from use in October 2010. Air Labrador flew it from 2011 to 2017, and it also operated for Trans Maldivian Airways from 2017 until late 2020.

Rimbun Air is a subsidiary of PT Menara Grand Papua, a company with 16 years of aviation experience. It was established in 2018 to fill a niche in the short takeoff and landing (STOL) cargo market in Indonesia. It operates one Boeing 737-300F – a 28-year-old aircraft that formerly flew passengers for China Southern and Xiamen Airlines before being converted to cargo in 2008.

It also has two of the Viking Air production Twin Otter aircraft, the DHC-6-400, aged six years and nine years. The DHC-6-300 was by far the oldest aircraft in its fleet.