Indonesia plane crash: Official says ‘no chance of survivors’, black box recoveredhttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/asia/indonesia-plane-crash-official-says-aircraft-is-totally-destroyed-black-box-recovered/

Indonesia plane crash: Official says ‘no chance of survivors’, black box recovered

"The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify," National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told The Associated Press.

Indonesia plane crash, Indonesia plane, Indonesia news, Indonesia plane crash news, Papua New Guinea, Trigana Air Service, World news
Indonesia plane crash: Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of its closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. An Indonesian airliner went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country’s mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. Local media reports said all the passengers are Indonesians. The airline did not immediately release a passenger manifest. Sign on window says “Wamena – Today is Full” and is unrelated to the missing plane. (AP Photo)

An Indonesian passenger plane that went missing two days ago was destroyed when it slammed into a mountain, killing all 54 people on board, the country’s top rescue official said. The black box has also been recovered from crashed passenger plane, added the official.

Rescuers only reached the crash site Tuesday after being hindered by rugged, forested terrain and bad weather.

“The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify,” National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told The Associated Press. “There is no chance anyone survived.” He said that so far 53 bodies had been recovered, and that they would be taken to Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, so they can be identified. Smoldering wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane was spotted from the air Monday. The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura to the city of Oksibil when it lost contact.

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The plane was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members on a scheduled 42-minute flight. Five children, including two infants, were among the passengers.

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Soelistyo said the wreckage was at an altitude of 2,600 meters (about 8,500 feet). Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. Some planes that have crashed in the past have never been found.

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The airline’s crisis center official in Jayapura’s Sentani airport, Budiono, said all the passengers were Indonesians, and included three local government officials and two members of the local parliament who were to attend a ceremony Monday in Oksibil marking the 70th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence from Dutch colonial rule.

This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia Monday, Aug. 17,2015 shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Indonesia. Smoldering wreckage of the passenger turboprop plane with 54 people on board was spotted from the air Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua, rescue officials said. (AP Photo/The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia)
This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia Monday, Aug. 17,2015 shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Indonesia. Smoldering wreckage of the passenger turboprop plane with 54 people on board was spotted from the air Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua, rescue officials said. (AP Photo/The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia)

Oksibil, about 280 kilometers (175 miles) south of Jayapura, was experiencing heavy rain, strong winds and fog when the plane lost contact with the airport minutes before it was scheduled to land.

The passengers included four postal workers aboard the plane were escorting four bags of cash totaling $468,750 in government aid for poor families to help offset a spike in fuel prices, Franciscus Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, the provincial capital, told The Associated Press.

The cash from the Social Affairs Ministry was to be distributed among poor people in remote areas to cushion the jump in fuel costs, Haryono said.

“They were carrying those bags (of cash) to be handed out to poor people in Oksibil through a post office there,” Haryono said.

National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief F. Henry Bambang Soelistyo, left, looks at a map with Air Vice Marshal Sudipo Handoyo during a search operation for the missing Trigana Air Service flight at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 (AP photo)
National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief F. Henry Bambang Soelistyo, left, looks at a map with Air Vice Marshal Sudipo Handoyo during a search operation for the missing Trigana Air Service flight at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 (AP photo)

Indonesia has had a string of airline tragedies in recent years. In December, all 162 people aboard an AirAsia jet were killed when the plane plummeted into the Java Sea as it flew through stormy weather on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, to Singapore.

The sprawling archipelago nation of 250 million people and some 17,000 islands is one of Asia’s most rapidly expanding airline markets, but it is struggling to provide enough qualified pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and updated airport technology to ensure safety.

From 2007 to 2009, the European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns.

Trigana Air Service, which began operations in 1991, had 22 aircraft as of December 2013 and flies to 21 destinations in Indonesia. The carrier has had 19 serious incidents since 1992, resulting in the loss of eight aircraft and major damage to 11 others, according to the Aviation Safety Network’s online database.

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The airline remains banned from flying to Europe along with other six Indonesian airlines.