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Wed, Feb 23, 2005

Indonesian Police Aircraft Down

As Many As 15 Lost

An Indonesian Casa 212 went down on approach to a remote airfield in the waters off New Guinea Tuesday, killing 15 people and injuring three others. Officials said pilot reported engine trouble just before the mishap.

"Five minutes before it was expected to land, the pilot contacted us. Suddenly, within seconds, the plane fell 500 meters before the runway," Bela Hafni, told the Reuters news agency by telephone from Sarmi. Hafni is the airport chief in Sarmi.

The pilot was among those lost, according to Hafni.

Several of the victims were police officers, he said. Survivors were rushed to the provincial capital, according to police officials.

FMI: www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/id.html

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