Chance of survivors «very small» after Indonesia plane crash (dpa German Press Agency)
Jakarta (dpa) – The chances of finding survivors from a plane that
went missing in Indonesia’s Papua province with 54 people on
board were slim following the discovery of the suspected crash site
on Monday, the national rescue chief said.
Searchers conducting aerial surveillance spotted the area where the
Trigana Air flight was believed to have crashed about 12 kilometres
from Oksibil, where the aircraft was scheduled to land on Sunday.
Aerial photographs showed smoke billowing from the site, said Bambang
Sulistyo, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency.
“Looking at the location, chances that we will find survivors are
very small,” he told dpa by telephone from Papua.
“We are 98 per cent convinced that it is the crash site,” he said.
Rescue workers were about four kilometres from the suspected crash
site but mountainous terrain and bad weather meant it could still
take them hours to reach the location, he said. The search had been
called off for the day and would resume on Tuesday.
Local military commander Colonel Sugiyono said residents had found
two metal pieces that might have come from the ATR 42 aircraft.
“We have received information from residents that they have found two
irregular pieces,” Sugiyono, who like many Indonesians goes by one
name, told broadcaster TVOne.
The missing plane was on a 55-minute flight from the provincial
capital Jayapura to Oksibil.
Four of the passengers were post office workers who were carrying 6.5
billion rupiah (468,000 dollars) in cash, said FX Haryono, the head
of the Jayapura post office.
The money was to be distributed to families in Pegunungan Bintang
under a government social welfare scheme.
Papua relies heavily on air transport because of limited road
networks through its jungle.
Papua police spokesman Patrige Renwarin said nine people listed as
passengers in an initial manifest turned out not be on the plane, and
their seats were taken by other people, Detik.com reported.
The police spokesman could not be reached for further details.
The crash is the third major air accident in Indonesia in
eight months and is likely to raise more questions about the
country’s aviation safety.
On December 28, AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea off
Borneo midway from Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people on
In June, at least 141 people were killed after an Indonesian Air
Force C-130 plane crashed into a residential area in Medan, North
Sumatra and burst into flames.