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Indonesian Passenger Jet Sent Distress Signal Before Going Missing

A passenger plane carrying more than 100 people has disappeared over Indonesia, and rescue teams are searching for it. Chad Bouchard has more in this VOA report from Jakarta.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with Adam Air flight KI 574 shortly after midday. The plane was at an altitude of about 35,000 feet during a scheduled two-hour flight from Java to north Sulawesi island.

There was no sign of the airplane several hours after its arrival time. The jet carried only enough fuel to fly for four hours.

Transportation Ministry Director General of Air Transport Ikhsan Tatang told reporters at a news conference that bad weather conditions could have been a factor.

Tatang says, before leaving, the plane had received weather information for the whole journey.

Transport officials added that the airplane was sighted over central Sulawesi, and a Singapore satellite also picked up a distress signal in that area.

Emergency crews have been dispatched to look for survivors.

Satellite images of the area are clouded over, and rescue workers say there is little hope of finding wreckage in the dark.

The Boeing 737-400 was carrying six crew members and 96 passengers, including 11 children.

Adam Air is a budget airline launched in 2003 that operates 19 jets with dozens of daily domestic routes in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, rescue workers continue to search for hundreds of missing victims of an earlier shipwreck in the Java Sea.