Passenger Airplane with 10 Aboard Missing in East Indonesia

A passenger plane carrying 10 people is missing on a domestic flight in eastern Indonesia, officials said Friday.

Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Barata said the DHC-6 Twin Otter plane lost contact 11 minutes after taking off in good weather from Masamba in South Sulawesi province. No distress signal was received.

The plane was headed for Makassar, the provincial capital. It was carrying three crew and seven passengers, including three children, Barata said.

A rescue team has been sent to search for the plane, owned by the private Aviastar Mandiri airline.

Ahmad Munir, head of the airport authority in Makassar, said satellite data showed the aircraft's last known position was about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Masamba.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of nearly 250 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, including plane and train crashes and ferry sinkings.

It is one of Asia's most rapidly expanding airline markets, but is struggling to obtain qualified pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and modern airport technology.