AN INDONESIAN police aircraft carrying 13 people has reportedly plunged into the sea after losing contact with Singapore air traffic control on Saturday.
Search and rescue operations have been launched by the Singapore Rescue Coordination Centre, reports Channel News Asia. The aircraft departed from Singapore this morning for the island of Batam, and was due to land an hour and a half later, but officials believe it crashed off Kabupaten Lingga, Riau Islands.
National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar was quoted telling AFP: “Fishermen found clothes, suitcases, and air plane seats we fear belong to the plane.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said they have two types of rescue aircraft aiding the Indonesian authorities in the search for the crashed plane. It added: “Two ships are awaiting clearance by the Indonesian authorities to assist in the search and rescue efforts.”
Indonesia’s own search and rescue team, BASARNAS, has up to four police vessels, alongside navy vessels, scouring a 200-square nautical mile area. BASARNAS chief Bambang Soelistyo told Reuters they found debris, but it’s too soon to assume there are no survivors.
According to the Associated Press, the police aircraft was carrying five crew members and eight passengers, all of whom were policemen.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more details come in.