Trigana Air Service plane which crashed in Indonesia jungle was carrying $500k
Plane which crashed in Indonesia jungle was carrying $500,000 in CASH authorities reveal as bad weather hampers bid to reach the wreckage
- Search teams have found the wreckage of the plane near Oksibil, Papua
- Rescue teams trying to reach the site have been hampered by bad weather
- 54 people were on the plane – but it is not known if there are any survivors
- Plane was carrying nearly $500,000 in government cash for poor families
03:48, 17 August 2015
12:53, 17 August 2015
A passenger plane with 54 people on board that crashed in Indonesia was carrying nearly half a million dollars in government cash for poor families, it has emerged.
Smouldering wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane was spotted from the air on Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua.
It is not yet clear if there are any survivors from Sunday's crash, which happened in bad weather. Poor conditions have continued to hamper efforts to reach the remote crash site today.
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Crash site: Aerial photos released by the National Search and Rescue Agency today show the Trigana Air wreckage
Hunt: Indonesian search and rescue agencies have found the missing Trigana passenger plane (similar to the one pictured) and have confirmed it crashed in the mountainous region of Papua with 54 people onboard
A photo of the suspected site showed an area that appeared to be fire-blackened and scattered with debris in thick forest
Search area: The plane took off from Sentani airport in the region's capital Jayapura on a flight to Oksibil, located south of the city, but failed to arrive at its destination
Indonesian officials say plane with 54 on board crashed
Four postal workers aboard the plane were escorting four bags of cash totalling $468,750 (Ã?Â£300,000) in government fuel aid money, said Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, the provincial capital.
The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura to the city of Oksibil when it lost contact.
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Transportation ministry spokesman Julius Barata said there was no indication that the pilot had made a distress call.
The cash from the social affairs ministry was to be distributed among poor people in remote areas to cushion the jump in fuel costs, said Haryono.
National Search And Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo (left) looks at a map with Air Vice Marshal Sudipo Handoyo during a search operation for the missing Trigana Air Service flight
A plane spotted debris engulfed in smoke in the mountains near Oksibil and search teams, including soldiers and police, set off in the early hours to reach the site
Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight wait for information at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province
A crowd gathers to read the passenger manifest at Sentani airport near Jayapura, Indonesia
Family members of passengers onboard the missing Trigana Air plane gather to listen for information from officials at Sentani airport
'They were carrying those bags (of cash) to be handed out to poor people in Oksibil through a post office there,' Haryono said.
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's administration raised fuel prices late last year and slashed government subsidies, a move the government says will save the country billions of dollars but has already sparked angry protests around the country.
Officials said the wreckage was spotted about 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Oksibil.
Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said search and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot.
The plane was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members on a scheduled 42-minute flight. Five children, including two infants, were among the passengers.
Officials said the wreckage was spotted about 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Oksibil. Search and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot
The plane was carrying 49 passengers and five crew members on a scheduled 42-minute flight. Five children, including two infants, were among the passengers
The airline's crisis centre official in Jayapura's Sentani airport, Budiono, said all the passengers are Indonesians
Relatives of passengers onboard the missing Trigana Air plane wait for information from the rescue mission
'Smoke was still billowing from the wreckage when it was spotted by a plane search,' said Soelistyo who is leading the rescue operation from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, adding that bad weather and rugged terrain were hampering efforts to reach the wreckage located in a mountainous area at an altitude of 2,600 metres (about 8,500ft).
He said elite forces from the air force and army will build a helipad for evacuation purposes near the crash site. Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. Some planes that have crashed in the past have never been found.
Search planes went into the air early on Monday after residents of a village not far from Oksibil told local police that they saw a plane flying low before crashing into a mountain, said Ludiyanto, who heads the search and rescue operation from Jayapura.
The airline's crisis centre official in Jayapura's Sentani airport, Budiono, said all the passengers are Indonesians and nine names on the initial passenger manifest were eventually replaced by other persons – a common practice among small domestic airlines in the country.
Heartbroken: The mother of a missing Trigana Air plane crew member cries as she walks out of Trigana Air main office, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Locals of the Okbape village reported seeing the plane crash into the mountains and claim to have found the wreckage
Uncertainty: Transport officials have confirmed the reports, and are currently trying to verify themÃ?Â
Family: Relatives of missing Trigana Air flight passengers try to find out more information at Sentani Airport, Jayapura, Indonesia
Budiono also said that among the passengers were three local government officials and two members of the local parliament who were to attend a ceremony on Monday in Oksibil marking the 70th anniversary of Indonesia's independence from Dutch colonial rule.
Oksibil, some 280 kilometres (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.
Mr Widodo said in a statement ahead of Indonesia's 70th independence anniversary ceremony that he was calling 'for a moment of silence and prayer for the crew and passengers ahead of our independence anniversary'.
European plane maker ATR said in a statement that it 'acknowledges the reported loss of contact' with the Trigana flight 'and is standing by to support the relevant aviation authorities'. ATR, based in Toulouse, France, makes regional planes with 90 seats or less.
Concern: Inside the Trigana Air offices today, after a plane carrying 54 people vanished after take-off
Indonesian Trigana air stewardess discusses missing flight
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.
Trigana Air Service, which commenced operations in 1991, had 22 aircraft as of December 2013 and flies to 21 destinations in Indonesia.Ã?Â
Dense: The area where the plane went missing is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. Some planes that have crashed there in the past have never been found
Treacherous: Indonesia's Papua region is a mountainous area where weather is extremely unpredictable, according to Trigana officials. The rescue efforts were hindered by continuing bad weather and the dark
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