Indonesia passenger plane wreckage located in remote Papua

Indonesia passenger plane wreckage located in remote Papua

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The wreckage of an Indonesian plane which went missing with 54 people on board has been spotted in the remote western Papua region, officials say.
The Trigana Air flight lost contact at 14:55 local time (05:55 GMT) on Sunday as it flew from the provincial capital, Jayapura, to the town of Oksibil.
Indonesia’s transport minister said the aircraft had been found by local people in the Bintang highlands region.
A search plane has also now spotted suspected debris.Indonesia’s postal office has told the BBC that the plane was carrying four bags containing cash, about 6.5 billion rupiah ($486,000; £300,000), for villagers living in remote places in Papua.
“Our colleagues carry those bags to be handed out directly to poor people over there,” said the head of Jayapura’s post office, Haryono, who goes by only his first name.
‘Pray together’
The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and infants, and five crew. It is not yet known if anyone survived.
It took off from Sentani airport in Jayapura at 14:21, but lost contact with air traffic controllers half an hour later.
Bintang Mountains Regency Police Chief Yunus Wally told the Antara news agency that the debris was seen near a waterfall by a search plane on Monday, and that ground teams were preparing to head to the area.
Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency, told AP news agency that “smoke was still billowing” from the debris spotted by their plane. He said bad weather and rugged terrain were hampering efforts to reach the site.
Villagers had earlier told officials that a plane had crashed into a mountain.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has expressed his condolences on Twitter and called for the country to “pray together” for the victims.
Oksibil, which is about 280km (175 miles) south of Jayapura, is a remote, mountainous region, which is extremely difficult to navigate.
Bad weather is believed to have been a possible reason for the crash.
The search plane was forced to turn back on Sunday because of dangerous flying conditions.
On blacklist
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. – BBC News

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