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Weather, Terrain Hamper Rescue Efforts In Indonesian Plane Crash

  • VOA News

This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Aug. 17, 2015.

This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Aug. 17, 2015.

Rescue teams were poised to hike through rugged terrain Tuesday toward the wreckage of an Indonesian airliner with 54 people aboard that crashed into a mountain Sunday.

A search plane spotted the debris from the crash of Trigana Air Flight 267 in the eastern province of Papua early Monday. The ATR 42-300 twin turboprop disappeared from radar screens shortly before it was to land in Oksibil after a short flight from Jayapura.

Indonesian rescuers called off the search for the day Monday after foggy weather and treacherous terrain hampered the operation.

The plane carried 54 passengers and crew, including five children, as well as nearly $470,000 in government funds to be distributed to poor families.

There is no word about survivors.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told reporters he instructed the transportation ministry to improve aviation safety to prevent future crashes,

Indonesia's aviation sector has been marred by several major incidents recently, including last December's crash of an AirAsia plane that killed 162 people. The Pacific archipelago nation is one of Asia's fastest growing airline markets, but is struggling to find enough qualified pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers to ensure safety.

Trigana has suffered 14 serious incidents since beginning operations in 1991, and is on a list of Indonesian air carriers banned from European Union airspace.

VOA's Indonesian service contributed to this report.

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