Flight TGN267 has been discovered in Oktabe district, Papua, after it crashed, an Indonesian transport ministry official said. Contact with the aircraft, which had 54 people on board, was lost at about 0600 GMT Sunday.

Villagers in Indonesia’s Papua New Guinea have said they heard a crash, a Trigana air official said earlier.

The flight TGN267, an ATR 42 short-range airliner, was going from Sentani to Oksibil, both in Papua, and was supposed to only take 50 minutes.

The aircraft was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members, the agency also tweeted.

The ownership record of the missing aircraft available at Planespotters.com shows that it is almost 25 years old.

The search operation is hampered by darkness, poor weather and difficult terrain in the area, the state search agency’s spokesperson told CNN.

Flight TGN267 was not equipped with an Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system, which also makes tracking the aircraft difficult.

Indonesia’s president pledged to review the country’s aging air force in July, following a military plane crash that left over 100 people dead.

An aviation expert spoke to RT about the chances for the search operation.

“It really depends on the terrain, and on how good the weather is tomorrow. It sounds like they knew the flight path, and that always helps. But it could be a while before we get anything out of that area. It could take weeks,” Robert Bishop said.

Noting that Trigana Air has been on the EU blacklist for banned carriers, Bishop added: “We need to research why it was allowed to fly anywhere in the world.”


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