Indonesia plane crash latest: No cash, but all aboard dead


Latest: A plane that crashed in eastern Indonesia was Tuesday found "completely destroyed" with the bodies of all 54 people who had been aboard amid the wreckage in a fire-blackened clearing at a remote site in dense jungle.

38 bodies

Thirty-eight bodies have been found at the site in remote eastern Indonesia where a plane crashed at the weekend, the transport ministry said.

"Thirty-eight bodies -- 37 adults and a child -- have been found at the crash site," transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata told AFP. "We are unable to evacuate them as the weather is very bad."

Completely destroyed

A plane that went down in eastern Indonesian carrying 54 people and large sums of money was "completely destroyed", an official said Tuesday, after rescuers finally reached the remote crash site.
Rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo told AFP: The ATR 42-300 is "completely destroyed".

"Everything was in pieces and part of the plane is burnt. We could see burn marks on some pieces."
Photos of the site show a clearing in thick forest that appears to be fire-blackened and scattered with debris.

As well as checking for survivors, rescuers were also searching for the plane's flight data recorders, or "black boxes", which could shed light on what caused the twin-turboprop plane to crash, Soelistyo said.

There was no immediate information on whether any bodies had been found.

Neither was there news on the fate of 6.5 billion rupiah ($470,000) that were being transported by the plane in cash, intended for distribution to poor families as social assistance funds.

Money on board

The Indonesian passenger plane that crashed at the weekend in Papua was transporting about 6.5 billion rupiah ($470,000) in cash to distribute to poor families in the eastern province, a post office official said Monday.

"Four of our personnel were escorting the funds," said Haryono, the head of Jayapura post office, who goes by one name. The money was in four bags, he added.

Debris spotted

A plane searching for an Indonesian passenger aircraft that went missing in the remote eastern province of Papua with 54 people on board at the weekend on Monday spotted debris, an official said.

"Early this morning, a plane swept the route and sighted debris in an area near Oksibil, but we want to double check now," transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told AFP.

54 people on board

An aircraft with 54 people on board crashed in Indonesia's remote and mountainous region of Papua on Sunday, a government official said, the latest in a string of aviation disasters in the Southeast Asian nation.

"The latest information is that the Trigana aircraft that lost contact has been found at Camp 3, Ok Bape district in the Bintang Mountains regency," Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo told reporters.

"Residents provided information that the aircraft crashed into Tangok mountain."

There was no immediate word on whether anyone survived.

Earlier, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said a twin-turboprop plane had lost contact with air traffic control as it flew over the forested area of eastern Indonesia but efforts to trace it were difficult because of failing light.

Trigana Air Operations Director Beni Sumaryanto said that within 30 minutes of hearing that the aircraft was missing, the airline sent another plane to scour the same flight path but it had found nothing because of bad weather, local media reported.

According to the official Basarnas Twitter account, the aircraft, a short-haul ATR 42-300 airliner belonging to Trigana Air Service and built in France and Italy, was carrying 44 adult passengers, five crew and five children and infants.

The plane was flying between Jayapura's Sentani Airport and Oksibil, due south of Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.

Air transport is commonly used in Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, where land travel is often impossible.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, an online database, the ATR 42-300 that went missing made its first flight 27 years ago. ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica.

The airline has been on the EU's list of banned carriers since 2007. Airlines on the list are barred from operating in European airspace due to either concerns about safety standards or the regulatory environment in their country of registration.

The airline has a fleet of 14 aircraft, according to the database. These include 10 ATR aircraft and four Boeing 737 Classics. These have an average age of 26.6 years, according to the database.

Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Excluding this latest incident, it has written off 10 aircraft.

Airline officials were not immediately available to respond to enquiries from Reuters.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record and has seen two major plane crashes in the past year, including an AirAsia flight that went down in the Java Sea, killing all on board.

The AirAsia crash prompted the Indonesian government to introduce regulations aimed at improving safety.

Indonesia's president promised a review of the ageing air force fleet in July after a military transport plane crashed in the north of the country, killing more than 100 people.  

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