First bod­ies re­cov­ered from In­done­sia Tri­g­ana Air plane crash site in Pa­pua

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

The re­mains of 17 peo­ple who died when the Tri­g­ana Air plane crashed dur­ing a short flight in bad weather Sun­day were taken by hun­dreds of lo­cals and res­cuers through jun­gle and over moun­tains in Pa­pua province.

The bod­ies ar­rived at the set­tle­ment of Ok­si­bil, the in­tended des­ti­na­tion of the ATR 42-300 plane, af­ter a gru­el­ing, hours-long jour­ney.

Four bod­ies had al­ready been flown on to Pa­pua’s cap­i­tal Jaya­pura while the other 13 were still in the lo­cal hos­pi­tal, trans­port min­istry spokesman J. A. Barata told AFP. The re­cov­ery ef­fort was halted at night­fall and will re­sume Thurs­day.

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 Wed­nes­day.

“The cur­rent con­di­tions make it im­pos­si­ble for us to use he­li­copters, so we have to do it via land,” said lo­cal mil­i­tary spokesman Pudji Teguh Ra­hardjo.

The tragedy 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 plane in De­cem­ber with the loss of 162 lives.

It took res­cuers two days to reach the site, about 15 kilo­me­ters (nine miles) from Ok­si­bil, af­ter ini­tial ef­forts were hin­dered by the rough ter­rain and bad weather.

They found the twin-tur­bo­prop air­craft in pieces scat­tered across a fire-black­ened clear­ing, and the bod­ies of the 49 pas­sen­gers and five crew who had been aboard.

They also re­cov­ered the plane’s black box flight data recorders, and some of the 6.5 bil­lion ru­piah (US$470,000) 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, and four tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sors from ATR, a Euro­pean plane maker based in France, is head­ing to In­done­sia to look into the ac­ci­dent.

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