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10 die in Indonesian copter crash

A helicopter chartered by an Australian mining company slammed into a mountain in eastern Indonesia, killing all 10 passengers and crew.

The Bell 412 - carrying two Australians, two South Africans and six Indonesians - lost contact with authorities on Wednesday minutes after take-off from the city of Manado on Sulawesi island, said Lucky Pondaag, an airport spokesman.

It was heading to Newcrest's Gosowong Mine on the island of Halmahera.

A search and rescue team discovered the wreckage at around 2am local time, said Ludianto, head of the operations.

There was only one survivor at the scene, he said, an Indonesian who later died of his injuries at the hospital. The bodies of the nine others have been transported to Manado.

The helicopter was chartered by PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals, a joint venture between Newcrest Mining and PT Aneka Tambang, the Australian company said.

It was not clear what caused the crash.

Indonesia has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, from plane and train crashes to ferry sinkings. Overcrowding, ageing infrastructure and poor safety standards are often to blame.

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