Bad weather on Wednesday hampered efforts to recover the bodies of 54 passengers and crew killed when a plane operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana Air crashed in remote eastern Indonesia.
The ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop went down on Sunday during a short flight in bad weather in Papua province, killing everyone on board.
Rescuers finally reached the crash site, near the settlement of Oksibil that had been the plane’s destination, two days later after initial efforts were hindered by the rough terrain, thick fog and heavy rain.
They found the aircraft in pieces scattered across a fire-blackened clearing, along with the bodies of those who had been aboard. They also recovered the aircraft’s black box flight data recorders. It was just the latest air accident in Indonesia, which has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered major disasters in recent months, including the crash of an AirAsia aircraft in December with the loss of 162 lives.
Authorities planned to airlift the dead from the site but continuing bad weather on Wednesday had so far made this impossible, said Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air’s service director of operations.
A team of three investigators from France’s BEA agency, which probes air accidents, has headed to Indonesia along with four technical advisors from ATR, a European plane maker based in France, to look into the accident.
The aircraft 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. The airline has said the accident was likely caused by bad weather.
Trigana Air, a small domestic Indonesian airline, has experienced a string of serious incidents and is banned from flying in European Union airspace.