Phone of missing Indonesian plane’s pilot emits signal

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Searchers detected a signal from the mobile phone belonging to the pilot of a small plane that went missing in eastern Indonesia with 10 people on board, reports said Saturday.

The DHC-6 Twin Otter operated by domestic airline Aviastar lost contact Friday minutes after takeoff from the town of Masamba in South Sulawesi province.

“The search is focusing on the location where the signal was detected,” Aviastar chairman Sugeng Triyono was quoted as saying by Detik.com news website.

The plane bound for the provincial capital Makassar was carrying three crew members and seven passengers.

Indonesia, which has a reputation for poor aviation safety, has experienced four deadly air accidents since December.

In August, an ATR 42-300 plane operated by Trigana Air Service crashed into a mountain in Papua province, killing 54 people on board.

In June, at least 141 people were killed after an Indonesian Air Force C-130 plane crashed into a residential area in Medan, North Sumatra and burst into flames.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo midway from Surabaya to Singapore late December, killing all 162 people on board.

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