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.
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.
Rimbun Air DHC-6 Twin Otter (PK-OTW, built 1976) crashed in Sugapa, Intan Jaya District, Papua, Indonesia with three crew on board. The cargo flight took off in Nabire and impacted high ground on approach to Bilogai AP (WABV). There were no survivors. @SAR_NASIONAL @nuicemedia pic.twitter.com/dh1bQsMS8q
— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) September 15, 2021
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.
Video taken by Basarnas rescuers suggested that the plane hit the ground nose first. The tail section of the fuselage is largely intact, but the same cannot be said about the cockpit. The video also showed that one of the wings is lodged in the trees. pic.twitter.com/gf8GE3HxDl
— Nuice Media (@nuicemedia) September 15, 2021
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 pic.twitter.com/bQROk25NV3
— Cholina M (@Cholins_tg) September 15, 2021
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.