An American pilot died on Tuesday after her light plane crashed into a lake while delivering humanitarian supplies in the easternmost province of Papua in Indonesia, police said.
Joyce Lin, 40, had just taken off from a Kodiak plane on Tuesday morning, leaving the airport in Sentani, Papua province. She was a missionary with the Church Aviation Fellowship working as a pilot and a expert in information technology.
Two minutes after takeoff from Sentani airport in the provincial capital of Jayapura, Joyce, apparently had technical issues, Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.
He said she sent a distress signal and pleaded to return back to the airport but then the control tower lost all contact with her. It was not exactly evident what caused the collision.
According to the MAF, the plane dropped into Lake Sentani, and divers reported that she did not survive. She had been the only one on board the plane. The MAF said that it is trying to resolve the accident with local authorities. Lin is survived by her parents and two sisters.
Kamal said Lin, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Information Technology who grew up in Maryland, was the only person on the plane bringing food, books, and school kits for native Papuans in the remote village of Mamit.
“She has devoted her life to delivering missionaries and relief supplies to hard-to – reach areas in Papua,” Kamal said.
Rescuers retrieved her remains at a depth of about 13 meters (43 feet), two hours after the collision.
According to estimates from Johns Hopkins University, Indonesia has seen over 15,000 cases of the virus, and therefore more than 1,000 deaths.
For any East Asian nation other than China, this is the highest death toll and only Singapore and China have had more cases and flying is the only practical way of accessing many areas in the mountainous and jungle-clad easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua.
Notwithstanding any Covid-19 cases until March, the country has seen its coronavirus numbers increasing with a great pace.