JAYAPURA, Indonesia - A plane with 16 people on board went missing in Indonesia's eastern region of Papua, an official said on Sunday, just weeks after the European Commission lifted a ban on four Indonesian airlines.
The Twin Otter plane, owned by Merpati Nusantara airline, was heading to Oksibil, near the border with Papua New Guinea, from Sentani airport near Jayapura, said Y. Dumaroni, head of transportation in Bintang regency.
The trip normally takes about 50 minutes by air. Three crew members and 13 passengers, including two babies were on board, Dumaroni told Reuters.
"We have dispatched a search and rescue team and alerted the military to look for the plane, but bad weather hampered the air search," Dumaroni said.
Indonesia has suffered a series of air disasters in recent years, affecting both its commercial and military aircraft.
Last month, the European Commission took four Indonesian airlines -- flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Mandala, Airfast and Premiair -- off its list of carriers banned from taking off or landing in the European Union, citing safety improvements.
However, the ban remains in place for all other Indonesian airlines.