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Cargo plane crash lands on runway in West Papua

Thursday 15 September 2016 | Published in Regional

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WEST PAPUA – An Indonesian cargo plane had a serious technical malfunction while landing at an airport in West Papua on Wednesday.

The Trigana Air Service plane was touching down at Wamena airport in the Highlands of Papua province in the morning when it slammed into the runway and lost both main components of its landing gear.

According to CNN Indonesia, the plane skidded for a kilometre on its belly along the runway before coming to rest to the side of the strip.

No injuries were reported.

A former pilot who spent seven years in Indonesia, Matt Dearden, said the plane was in low cloud when it attempted to land but the plane touched down “very hard” in a nose high attitude which instantly collapsed the landing gear.

Dearden said that such incidents happen far too often in this region.

He noted that there was an almost identical crash a year ago at Wamena airport which is surrounded by high mountains and often has cloud at unusually low levels.

Wamena airport is surrounded by high mountains and often has cloud at unusually low levels, Dearden added.

“There is no instrument landing equipment here either so all landings are hand flown visually,” he said.

RIGHT: The Indonesian cargo plane slammed into the runway and skidded for just under kilometre after tearing off its landing gear.

Tongan boys thumping Aussies

TONGA – The Tonga under 18 rugby team made it back to back wins on their tour of Australia, beating New South Wales Combined High Schools 33-12.

It followed a 45-8 thumping of New South Wales Catholic Combined Colleges in Newcastle last week.

Their final tour match is on Saturday against the Australian Schools Barbarians in Sydney.

Spokesperson Kavamone Fisiihoi said the NSW match was another step up and their players showed good improvement.

“The New South Wales team was much stronger than the Catholic Schools. To be winning the Combined High Schools was a really good step for us before our last match with the Barbarians,” he said.

Fisiihoi said Tonga Schools have yet to beat Australia but this will be their first time playing against the Barbarians.

“We really look to securing the ball, especially our line outs and kickoff as well. The boys were told to stick to what the game plan was we were starting with.

“That’s what we want to try to sort with the boys – get the support and not losing our ball in our attacking time, cutting out some basic mistakes with mauls and rucks.”

Fisiihoi said the trip has also been a big learning curve off the field, with players being billeted with local families during their time in Newcastle and Sydney.

“Most of them it’s the first time to go overseas and billeting them with different families is a very good experience for them – especially speaking their second language and talking normal conversations with Australian families, it’s really good,” he said.

“They learn a lot. They have to adapt to lifestyles and this is what they’re looking for if they want to continue in this career, in the future they will go overseas, get a club or contract somewhere. The whole purpose is to introduce them to this kind of thing.” - RNZI