Indonesian air force plane crashes into mountain, killing 12

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A large Indonesian air force plane has crashed into a mountain while preparing to land in Papua province on the island of New Guinea, officials say. All twelve people on board the plane are believed to have been killed.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft had taken off from Mozes Kilangin Airport in Timika at about 5:35 a.m. local time on Sunday for a flight to Wamena Airport. It made contact with the airport in Wamena just after 6 a.m. but the plane disappeared from radar a short time later, just minutes before landing.

A search and rescue operation involving dozens of people was launched and the wreckage of the plane was found on Mount Lisuwa at about 8:40 a.m. Most of the aircraft was destroyed on impact and photos from the scene showed that nearby grass had been burnt in a fire.

A total of 12 crew members were on board the aircraft and a rescue official said all were feared to have been killed, adding that some bodies had already been recovered from the site. Some reports said 13 people were on board the plane, though the official could only confirm 12.

The air force said the cause of the crash is believed to be related to bad weather, though specific details were not immediately available. The aircraft was carrying food and other material but was also being used for training purposes.

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