Wreckage of SAM Air Cessna Caravan found in Papua Highlands

Wreckage of a SAM Air Cessna Caravan viewed from the air.
Badan Nasional Pencarian dan Pertolongan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A Cessna Caravan single-engine turboprop aircraft belonging to regional operator SAM Air crashed in Papua, Indonesia on Friday, June 23. The aircraft was carrying four passengers and two crew members.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found later that day in a mountainous area near Yalimo District. There were no survivors.

Flight details

The ill-fated flight took off from Elelim Airport in Papua Province at 10:53 am local time. The aircraft involved as a Cessna C208B Grand Caravan registered PK-SMW. The flight’s destination was Poik Airport. Shortly after takeoff, radio contact with the aircraft was lost, raising concern with aviation authorities.

According to news source Tempo,  wreckage of the single engine turboprop aircraft was found by a helicopter dispatched by the police from Wamena Airport to search for the whereabouts of the missing flight.

“The plane crashed 12 kilometers from Elelim Airport towards Poik District, Walarek, Yalimo Regency,” Head of Papua Police Public Relations Sr. Comr. Ignatius Benny Ady Prabowo said in a written statement, Friday, June 23.

Cessna C208B Grand Caravan reg. PK-SMW. Photo Credit: Polda Papua, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The wreckage of the aircraft was discovered in a mountainous area near Yalimo District. Tragically, there were no survivors.

While the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, initial reports suggest that poor weather conditions may have played a significant role in the accident.

The region where the crash occurred is known for its thick fog and frequent rain, which can greatly affect visibility and pose challenges for pilots navigating through the area.

SAM Air: A Regional Airline in Papua

SAM Air, based in Papua, Indonesia, is a regional airline that primarily operates short-haul flights within the region. The airline relies on its fleet of Cessna Caravan aircraft, known for their suitability in remote areas with limited infrastructure.

These single-engine turboprop aircraft offer excellent short takeoff and landing capabilities, making them ideal for the challenging terrain of Papua.

Investigation and Determining Factors

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) is leading the investigation into the crash. Their team of investigators has been dispatched to the crash site to gather evidence and assess various factors that may have contributed to the accident.

The KNKT will meticulously examine the weather conditions, aircraft maintenance records, and the training of the crew in their quest to uncover the truth behind this tragic incident.

While the investigation is still underway, the KNKT is expected to release a preliminary report in the following weeks. However, comprehensive analysis and the final report may take several months to complete.

Impact on Papua and Aviation Industry

The loss of the four passengers and two crew members is an enormous tragedy that has shaken the region.

The Cessna Caravan aircraft has long been relied upon for air transportation in remote areas due to its capabilities.

However, the loss of this aircraft will pose challenges in providing adequate air travel services, further underscoring the difficulties faced in remote regions.

The weather conditions in Papua can be highly unpredictable, even for experienced pilots. The combination of thick fog and frequent rain can create hazardous circumstances that catch pilots off guard.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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