53 bodies found at Indonesia plane crash site

Indonesian search teams have found the bodies of 53 of the 54 people on board a Trigana Air passenger aircraft that crashed in the mountainous interior of eastern Papua Province, a Transportation Ministry official said on Tuesday.

The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) was still searching for one infant, Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata told Reuters by text message.

“The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify,” BASARNAS chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told The Associated Press. “There is no chance anyone survived.”

Mr. Soelistyo said that the plane’s black box has been recovered. The black box contains data on the plane’s operations and may give clues to the exact cause of the crash.

Smouldering wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane was spotted from the air on Monday. The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura to the city of Oksibil when it lost contact.

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.

Mr. Soelistyo said the wreckage was at an altitude of 2,600m (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.

The airline’s crisis centre 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 on Monday in Oksibil marking the 70th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence from Dutch colonial rule.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 5:27:57 PM |

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