Rescue helicopter crashes in Indonesia

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OFFICIALS say a rescue helicopter has crashed while on a mission to find two missing pilots, one of the Australian, whose plane went down in eastern Indonesia.

A military spokesman in Papua, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Bogra, said the Bell 412 carrying five Indonesian soldiers lost contact with authorities on Saturday afternoon, about 20 minutes after it took off from the mining town of Timika. It was unclear if there were any survivors.

The helicopter crashed a day after a Cessna 208-B Caravan went missing with pilots David Cootes, 29, from Queensland and Slovakian Thomas Munk.

Rescuers have spotted the wreckage of the single-engine aircraft belonging to Susi Air that crashed on Friday in the mountains of Yahukimo district. The weather has prevented them from reaching the pilots, who are feared dead.

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