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Papua plane crash: All 54 bodies found

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On Sunday (Aug 16), an Indonesian plane carrying 54 passengers went missing amid bad weather in Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia.

The Trigana Air-operated plane had lost contact with air traffic control, 30 minutes after take-off, said Toha, a spokesman at the command center of the National Search and Rescue Agency in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The plane was en route to the remote settlement of Oksibil in the mountains which is only accessible by air.

According to The New York Times, Indonesian rescue teams reached the crash site today (Aug 18) by foot.

The two Indonesian military-supported civilian rescue teams, trekked through mountainous jungle to get there.

Tatang Kurniadi, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee, said that all 54 bodies have been found.

Henry Bambang Soelistyo, head of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters at a command center at Sentani Airport in Jayapura: "Right now, they are preparing equipment for the evacuation process and also building a helipad."

BBC News reported that the plane had crashed on Sunday in the dense forest in a mountainous area, close to its destination of Oksibil.

The plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, two children, three babies and five crew members, all believed to be Indonesian.

Four postal workers aboard the plane were escorting four bags of government cash worth 6.5 billion rupiah ($660,000) to be distributed to the poor families in Oksibil.  

Heronimus Guru, the agency’s deputy director of operations, described the crash site to The New York Times as extremely hard to reach.

He said: “Even local people have never been to this location."

Source: The New York Times, BBC News

Related report: Indonesian plane carrying 54 people goes missing in Papua