Oksibil in Papua, Indonesia. Photo: Google Maps
Oksibil in Papua, Indonesia. Photo: Google Maps

Aviation authorities are investigating whether bad weather might have contributed to the crash of a plane in Indonesia’s remote eastern province of Papua on Saturday which claimed the lives of eight people.

A 12-year-old boy was the only survivor when the plane, operated by Dimonim Air, plummeted into Bintang Mountains in a heavily-forested district in Oksibil. Identified as Jumaidi, the boy was evacuated to a hospital in the provincial capital, Jayapura, and is being treated for broken bones.

The plane lost contact with air traffic control shortly before it was due to land at Oksibil airport, after travelling from Tanah Merah, a town on the Digul river about 40 minutes by air to the south.

Villagers reported hearing a “loud roar followed by an explosion”, according to the AFP news agency. Weather conditions were poor, with rain and a heavy cloud cover, and rescuers are still struggling to remove the bodies of the two deceased pilots and six passengers.

The region is notorious for air crashes. In 2017 a Cessna carrying food supplies crashed just short of Oksibil Airport, killing the pilot, who was the only occupant. Two years earlier a Trigana Air plane carrying 54 people went down in the mountains. Everyone on board perished.

Lieutenant colonel Dax Sianturi, a Papua military spokesman, said that an investigation will be carried out by the national transportation safety committee.