Indonesia plane crash: American pilot dies while attempting to deliver coronavirus supplies

Flight's cargo included Covid-19 rapid test kits and school supplies

Louise Hall
Thursday 14 May 2020 19:00 BST
Joyce Lin appears in a short introduction to the people MAF serves in Papua, Indonesia
Joyce Lin appears in a short introduction to the people MAF serves in Papua, Indonesia (YouTube/ Jetliner07)

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Louise Thomas

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A missionary pilot from Maryland has died in a plane crash while on a trip to deliver emergency coronavirus supplies, officials have said.

Joyce Lin, who served as a pilot and field IT support specialist for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), left Papua, Indonesia airport in the early hours of the morning on 12 May. However, her plane crashed into a lake within minutes of take-off.

“Indonesian Search and Rescue divers later confirmed that Joyce did not survive the accident," MAF said in a statement. Lin was the only person on the aircraft.

The 40-year-old was “responding to the needs of the village of Mamit in the Papua highlands," according to the release.

The cargo on the plane included Covid-19 rapid test kits for the local clinic and school supplies.

Lin apparently reported technical problems two minutes after takeoff and sent a distress call before losing contact with traffic control.

Rescuers discovered her body after the crash at a depth of approximately 13 meters (43 feet). The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The American missionary had two degrees in engineering from MIT and spent over ten years working as a computer specialist before joining MAF in 2017, according to Salem News.

“She has dedicated her life to transporting humanitarian supplies and missionaries to hard-to-reach areas in Papua,” Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal said.

She is survived by her parents and two sisters.

Indonesia has recorded more than 16,000 Covid-19 cases and over 1,000 deaths as of Thursday.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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