Indonesia plane crashes in North Sumatra

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A plane carrying 18 people has crashed in a mountainous region of western Indonesia, government officials say.

The Casa C-212 aircraft sent an emergency signal while flying between North Sumatra and Aceh provinces, the transport ministry's Herry Bakti said.

He said it lost touch with air-traffic control and crashed at 1,100m (3,600ft), near the North Sumatran village of Bahorok.

Rescue teams were reportedly being hampered by rain and rough terrain.

"The plane crashed sometime between 7:28 (00:28 GMT) and 8:05 this morning around Bahorok mountain, which is about 36 nautical miles northwest of Medan," Mr Bakti, the ministry's aviation head, told AFP news agency.

The ministry said the craft's wreckage had been spotted during aerial surveillance and its body appeared to be largely intact.

There was no word on the fate of its 14 passengers, including four children, and four crew members.

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport and has a poor aviation safety record.

In May, 27 people died when a passenger plane crashed into the sea off the eastern province of West Papua.