Indonesia plane crash: Remains of 54 dead found in Papua

An image showing the wreckage from a Trigana Air flight scattered in trees in the mountainous Oksibil area in Papua province - 17 August 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Images taken by search teams show the wreckage strewn across a dense forest

Indonesian rescuers have recovered the remains of 54 people who died onboard a Trigana Air plane that crashed in Papua region on Sunday.

The head of the search and rescue agency said his team had found the aircraft completely destroyed and partially burnt.

The black box flight data recorder has also been found.

The plane came down on Sunday in dense forest in a mountainous area, close to its destination of Oksibil.

It was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children, and five crew members - all believed to be Indonesian.

The plane was also said to be carrying about 6.5 billion rupiah ($486,000; £300,000) in cash, which was due to be distributed to poor families in the area. Officials have not said whether this has been located.

Members of the rescue team - made up of about 100 police, military and civilians - began reaching the site on Tuesday morning.

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Media captionThe plane was carrying dozens of people, as well as cash

Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told reporters: "The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify."

Bad weather and difficult terrain at the crash site were hampering efforts to remove the bodies but they will eventually be taken to the provincial capital for identification.

Officials confirmed the black box had also been found. It contains data on the plane's operations and could yield clues as to the cause of the crash.

The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane took off from Sentani airport in Jayapura at 14:21 local time on Sunday, but lost contact with air traffic controllers half an hour later.

Bad weather is believed to have been a possible reason for the crash. A search plane was forced to turn back on Sunday because of dangerous flying conditions.

Oksibil, which is about 280km (175 miles) south of Jayapura, is a remote, mountainous region, which is extremely difficult to navigate.

Trigana Air has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991, losing 10 aircraft in the process, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

It has been on a European Union blacklist of banned carriers since 2007. All but four of Indonesia's certified airlines are on the list.

Indonesia has suffered two major air disasters in the past year.

Last December, an AirAsia plane crashed in the Java Sea, killing all 192 people on board - and in July a military transport plane crashed in a residential area of Medan, Sumatra, claiming 140 lives.

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