JAYAPURA, Indonesia — Rescuers on Tuesday reached the site in remote eastern Indonesia where a plane crashed carrying 54 people and large sums of money, and found the aircraft "completely destroyed," a search and rescue official said.
"Our rescuers have reached the crash site," Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, SAID, adding they arrived at the location in Papua province at 9:30am (0030 GMT). "The plane has crashed, it is completely destroyed."
"Everything was in pieces and part of the plane is burnt. We could see burn marks on some pieces," he said.
He said rescuers were still looking for survivors at the site, which is in dense forest in a mountainous area, but the chances of finding anyone alive were "slim".
Soelisyo added rescuers were also hunting for the plane's flight data recorders, known as black boxes, which should shed light on what caused the accident.
The plane operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana Air lost contact Sunday as it flew in bad weather from Jayapura, the capital of Papua, to Oksibil, a remote settlement in the mountains to the south.
The ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop aircraft was carrying 49 passengers and five crew, as well as 6.5 billion rupiah ($470,000) in cash, which were social assistance funds intended for distribution to poor families. — AFP