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Indonesian plane crash kills 15
Tuesday, February 22, 2005 Posted: 0544 GMT (1344 HKT)

(CNN) -- A plane operated by the Indonesian police has crashed into waters off the island of New Guinea, killing 15 people and critically injuring three others, a national police spokesman said.

The Cassa 212 plane crashed into the sea as it was approaching a remote airport in Sarmi, located on the northern Pacific Coast of Papua province.

The pilot reported engine trouble prior to the crash, officials said.

"Five minutes before it was expected to land, the pilot contacted us. Suddenly, within seconds, the plane fell 500 meters before the runway," the head of the airport, Bela Hafni, told the Reuters news agency by telephone from Sarmi.

"When the pilot contacted us, he reported there was an engine problem," Hafni said, adding the pilot was among the dead, Reuters reports.

The survivors had been transported to the Papua provincial capital Jayapura, he said, according to the news agency.

Several of the dead passengers were police officers, a police spokesman told Reuters.

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