The airfield commander, Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Suhartono, said in Jayapura, Papua, on Saturday that he could not provide an estimate for when the black boxes would be retrieved as the rescue team is awaiting approval to use the Indonesian Air Force’s Caracal helicopter for the task.
The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has sought assistance from the Indonesian National Defence Forces (TNI) commander for retrieving the black boxes of the crashed Susi Air Pilatus Porter PC-6 aircraft using the Caracal helicopter, he informed.
Susi Air had earlier offered another Pilatus aircraft owned by the company to transport the KNKT team to the crash site, which is located within Papua’s lush forests, Suhartono said.
The plan was found unfeasible as the Pilatus aircraft can only land in Duma, from where the rescue team would need to proceed on foot to the crash site, which could take one to two days, he informed.
If the TNI commander approves the use of the Caracal helicopter for the retrieval operation, the team can land at the site from where the victims were evacuated, which is located approximately one hour by foot from the crash site, the commander said.
Suhartono then affirmed the airfield officers’ readiness to assist in the operation to retrieve the black boxes of the crashed plane.
The plane, which was piloted by Dayle Peter Houzet, had lost contact with air control authorities at 8:20 a.m. local time (UTC +9) on Thursday after failing to arrive in Timika from Duma at the scheduled time of 8 a.m.
The pilots and all passengers on board the flight survived the crash and were evacuated to a hospital in Timika. Seven of the eight victims sustained severe injuries, including Houzet, who suffered a broken leg.
The passengers on board the flight were identified as Merina Dimpau, Fickien Dimpau, Philipus Dimpau, Leo Dimpau, Seruwarkis Diabilu, and Lukas Dimbau.