Bodies recovered from Indon plane crash

  • 19/08/2015
Once recovered, the bodies will be flown to Jayapura, Papua's capital (AAP)
Once recovered, the bodies will be flown to Jayapura, Papua's capital (AAP)

The first bodies of 54 people killed when a plane went down in eastern Indonesia have been carried from the remote crash site after bad weather hampered efforts to airlift them.

The remains of six people who died when the Trigana Air plane crashed during a short flight in bad weather on Sunday (local time) have arrived at the settlement of Oksibil in Papua province, the military says.

A further 11 bodies are being carried through the dense forests and mountainous terrain, local military spokesman Pudji Teguh Rahardjo says. About 300 local people are involved in the recovery effort.

Once recovered, the bodies will be flown to Jayapura, Papua's capital.

Authorities had initially hoped to use helicopters to airlift the bodies from the site, but bad weather made it too dangerous to fly in the area on Wednesday.

"The current conditions make it impossible for us to use helicopters, so we have to do it via land," Rahardjo said.

It took rescuers two days to reach the site, about 15 kilometres from Oksibil, after initial efforts were hindered by the rough terrain, thick fog and heavy rain.

They found the ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop aircraft in pieces scattered across a fire-blackened clearing, and the bodies of those who had been aboard.

They also recovered the plane's black box flight data recorders, and some of the 6.5 billion rupiah (NZ$716,000) in government social assistance funds that was being transported for distribution to poor families. Some of the money was badly burnt.

A team of three investigators from France's BEA agency, which probes air accidents, has headed to Indonesia along with four technical advisers from ATR, a European plane-maker based in France, to look into the accident.

The plane had set off from Jayapura on what was supposed to be a 45-minute flight to Oksibil, but lost contact 10 minutes before landing as it sought to descend in heavy cloud and rain.