The plane lost contact with air traffic controllers at 2:12 p.m., 21 minutes after taking off, said Marsda Daryatmo, head of the search and rescue agency. Two helicopters were immediately sent out to search for the plane but had to return to their bases due to strong winds and unpredictable weather.
Ground teams were continuing to search. The air search will resume at daylight, depending on the weather, Daryatmo said.
The plane was flying over Mount Salak, a volcano south of Jakarta, and was presumed to have crashed.
Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national search and rescue service, said the plane disappeared from radar around Bogor, a mountainous area about 50 miles south of Jakarta, and that 200 police officers and rescue workers had been deployed to find it.
“We are still looking for it and we are uncertain whether it crashed,” he was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying.
Due to low visibility and fog the helicopters had to stop the search and return to base. The rescue operation is now restricted to a ground search. The search will continue throughout the night.
“Now we are mobilizing ground teams in coordination with the local police and military units to find the aircraft’s whereabouts,” the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency chief, Vice Marshal Daryatmo told the Jakarta Post.
The rescuers will try to reach the highest point in the mountainous terrain to get a better view of the surroundings. In the morning five helicopters are expected to join the rescue operation.