Jakarta: Two days after an Indonesian plane belonging to Trigana Air went missing over the mountains, it has been confirmed that the plane was totally destroyed after it crashed in the western Papua region , leaving no survivors, the country's top rescue official said.
Also, the officials have managed to locate the plane's flight data recorders, known as black box, which should reveal more information on what caused the crash.
Rough weather and rugged terrain at the crash site delayed the rescue efforts and officials reached the site on Tuesday only to spot the wreckage of the plane that had been completely destroyed and partially burnt.
“All the bodies were burned and difficult to identify," National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told a news agency, adding that there was no hope of any survivors.
The bodies will be taken to Jayapura for identification.
The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura to the city of Oksibil when it lost contact. It was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children, and five crew members.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Agency Inputs