An Indonesian airplane carrying 54 people crashed Sunday while flying over the country's remote eastern province, killing everyone on board.
A rescue team flying over the mountains on Monday confirmed they had spotted debris that appeared to be from the plane in the rugged terrain in the eastern province of Papua.
By Tuesday, search and rescue officials reached the crash site, recovering the bodies of 54 passengers and the plane's black box, which could provide clues to the cause of the crash.
"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.
By mid-morning Tuesday, search and rescue teams had recovered 38 bodies from the crash site, Indonesian news service Antara News reported.
Previously, Haryono, the head of the post office in the provincial capital Jayapura, said four postal workers were aboard the plane escorting four bags of cash totaling $468,759 in government fuel aid.
The Trigana Air Service plane disappeared Sunday afternoon after leaving from Jayapura, the capital city of Papua province.
The plane was en route to Oksibil, which like Jayapura is located near the border with Papua New Guinea. The apparent wreckage was seen not far from the plane's destination, local officials told Antara News.
In a statement, the Indonesian search and rescue agency said the plane had 49 passengers on board, including two children and three babies. There were also four crew reported on board, including the captain, first officer, technician, and a flight attendant.
Indonesian transport officials said late Sunday that the plane had struck a mountain in the Bintang highlands region near Oksibil.
"The plane has been found [by villagers]," the transport ministry's director-general of air transportation, Suprasetyo, told reporters, according to Al Jazeera. "According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain. Verification is still in process."
Indonesia's National Search and Rescue agency had originally announced the plane's disappearance on Twitter, saying it lost contact at 2:55 p.m. local time:
Rescue workers had been forced to suspend the official search due to nightfall.
The search for the plane — which officials said was an ATR 42 — was also hindered by bad weather.
Authorities told AFP they did not know what happened, but added that the "weather is currently very bad there, it's very dark and cloudy. It's not conducive for a search. The area is mountainous."
The AP reported that another plane had been sent to search for the missing aircraft but returned due to bad weather. The search resumed Monday morning.
According to Trigana Air's website, the ATR 42 has 50 seats, can fly for a maximum of nine hours, and needs a nearly 3,000-foot-long runway.
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