Indonesia official says missing plane is 'totally destroyed'

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Indonesia Plane Crash: 'There Is No Chance Anyone Survived'

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) -- Rescuers on Tuesday reached the site in eastern Indonesia where a passenger plane slammed into a mountain over the weekend, killing all 54 people on board, and found that the aircraft had been destroyed, officials said.

More than 70 rescuers reached the crash site after being hindered by rugged, forested terrain and bad weather, said Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the National Search and Rescue Agency chief.

The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder - the plane's "black boxes" - were found in good condition, Soelistyo said. The data they contain could help explain what caused the Trigana Air Service plane to crash Sunday.

"The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify," Soelistyo told The Associated Press.

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He said all 54 bodies had been recovered and would be taken to Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, so they can be identified. The ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was flying from Jayapura to the city of Oksibil with 49 passengers and five crew members on a scheduled 42-minute flight when it lost contact with air traffic control.

Soelistyo said the wreckage was at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,500 feet). Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. Some planes that have crashed there in the past have never been found.

Click below to see images from the crash site:

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Indonesia plane crashes, 54 aboard
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Indonesia official says missing plane is 'totally destroyed'
Indonesian rescuers search through wreckage of the Trigana Air ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane at the crash site in the mountainous area of Oksibil on August 18, 2015. A plane that crashed in eastern Indonesia was found on August 18 'completely destroyed' with the bodies of all 54 passengers and crew strewn amid the wreckage in a fire-blackened jungle clearing, officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane wreckage is strewn across dense terrain in Pegunungan Bintang, Papua province, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. The Trigana Air Service plane that went missing two days ago was destroyed when it slammed into a mountain, killing all 54 people on board, the country's top rescue official said.(AP Photo)
This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia Monday, Aug. 17,2015 shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Indonesia. Smoldering wreckage of the passenger turboprop plane with 54 people on board was spotted from the air Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua, rescue officials said. (AP Photo/The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia) MANDATORY CREDIT
Officials and rescue workers gather by plane wreckage strewn across dense terrain in a remote area of Pegunungan Bintang, Papua province, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. The Trigana Air Service plane that went missing two days ago was destroyed when it slammed into a mountain, killing all 54 people on board, the country's top rescue official said. (AP Photo)
Indonesian rescuers hold wreckage fragments from the Trigana Air ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane from the crash site in the mountainous area of Oksibil on August 18, 2015. A plane that crashed in eastern Indonesia was found on August 18 'completely destroyed' with the bodies of all 54 passengers and crew strewn amid the wreckage in a fire-blackened jungle clearing, officials said. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indonesian soldier holds the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, the "black boxes," of a Trigana Air Service passenger plane at the crash site in Pegunungan Bintang, Papua province, Indonesia, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. The Indonesian plane that went missing two days ago was destroyed when it slammed into a mountain, killing all 54 people on board, the country's top rescue official said. (AP Photo)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - AUGUST 17: Operational Deputy of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Heronimus Guru speaks about Trigana Air ATR 42 plane shortly during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, 17 August 2015. Searchers spotted what was believed to be the wreckage of a plane that went missing with 54 people on board in Indonesia's remote Papua province. The ATR 42 operated by Trigana Air disappeared from the radar on 16 August, just 10 minutes before its scheduled arrival at Oksibil in the mountainous Pegunungan Bintang district. (Photo by Wawan Kurniawan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - AUGUST 17: Operational Deputy of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Heronimus Guru shows a picture of the suspected crash site of a Trigana Air ATR 42 plane shortly after a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, on August 17, 2015. Searchers spotted what was believed to be the wreckage of a plane that went missing with 54 people on board in Indonesia's remote Papua province. The ATR 42 operated by Trigana Air disappeared from the radar on 16 August, just 10 minutes before its scheduled arrival at Oksibil in the mountainous Pegunungan Bintang district. (Photo by Wawan Kurniawan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Dec. 26, 2010, Trigana Air Service's ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane takes off at Supadio airport in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The same type of a Trigana airliner carrying 54 people was missing Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. A search for the plane was suspended and will resume Monday morning. (AP Photo)
This photo released by the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) of Indonesia Monday, Aug. 17,2015 shows the part of the wreckage that BASARNAS identified as of the missing Trigana Air Service flight that crashed in Oksibil, Papua, Indonesia. Smoldering wreckage of the passenger turboprop plane with 54 people on board was spotted from the air Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua, rescue officials said. (AP Photo/The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia) MANDATORY CREDIT
National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) deputy operations director Heronimus Guru explains a search operation for the missing Trigana Air Service flight during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Smoldering wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane was spotted from the air Monday morning in a rugged area of the easternmost province of Papua, rescue officials said. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight sit at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Rescue officials spotted an Indonesian airliner that went missing on Sunday in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot. (AP Photo)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - AUGUST 16: Indonesia's Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan (L2) speaks during a press conference in Jakarta on August 16, 2015, announcing that a missing plane carrying 54 people crashed into a mountain in eastern Indonesian province of Papua. Indonesian authorities say a plane that went missing earlier Sunday with 54 passengers on board has been found after it crashed into mountains in eastern Papua. (Photo by Wawan Kurniawan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
National Search And Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) chief F. Henry Bambang Soelistyo, left, looks at a map with Air Vice Marshal Sudipo Handoyo during a search operation for the missing Trigana Air Service flight at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Rescuers are making their way into the rugged mountains of Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, where the airliner carrying 54 people went missing in bad weather Sunday. (AP Photo/Alfian)
Members of the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) wait before leaving on a search for the missing Trigana Air Service flight at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Rescue officials spotted an Indonesian airliner that went missing in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua and rescue teams were preparing to try to reach the crash site by air and foot. (AP Photo)
Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight wait for information at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Rescuers are making their way into the rugged mountains of Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, where the airliner carrying 54 people went missing in bad weather Sunday. (AP Photo/Alfian)
Indonesian relatives submit information to police forensic personnel at a crisis center set up in Jayapura on August 17, 2015 following the crash of a Trigana Air ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane the day before. Rescuers raced on August 17 to reach debris in remote eastern Indonesian mountains believed to be from the plane that crashed carrying 54 people and cash worth almost half a million USD. AFP PHOTO / BIMA SAKTI (Photo credit should read BIMA SAKTI/AFP/Getty Images)
JAYAPURA, INDONESIA - AUGUST 17 : Relatives of passengers onboard the missing Trigana Air plane wait for news search at crisis centre in Sentani Airport, Jayapura, Indonesia, on August 17, 2015. Trigana ATR 42 aircraft carrying 54 peoples, lost contact with air traffic control after taking off from, Papua, Indonesia's eastern province. (Photo by Sakhiy Rifano/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight listen to a National Policies Disaster Victim Identification official at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Rescuers are making their way into the rugged mountains of Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, where an airliner carrying 54 people went missing in bad weather Sunday. (AP Photo/Alfian)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - AUGUST 16: Indonesia's Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan (L) speaks during a press conference in Jakarta on August 16, 2015, announcing that a missing plane carrying 54 people crashed into a mountain in eastern Indonesian province of Papua. Indonesian authorities say a plane that went missing earlier Sunday with 54 passengers on board has been found after it crashed into mountains in eastern Papua. (Photo by Wawan Kurniawan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People walk outside the terminal at Sentani Airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, after a Trigana Air Service flight originating from there went missing. An Indonesian airliner went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. Local media reports said all the passengers are Indonesians. The airline did not immediately release a passenger manifest. (AP Photo)
Relatives of passengers on the missing Trigana Air Service flight stand in front of its closed offices at Sentani airport in Jayapura, Papua province, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. An Indonesian airliner went missing Sunday after losing contact with ground control during a short flight in bad weather in the country's mountainous easternmost province of Papua, officials said. Local media reports said all the passengers are Indonesians. The airline did not immediately release a passenger manifest. Sign on window says "Wamena - Today is Full" and is unrelated to the missing plane. (AP Photo)
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The airline's crisis center official in Jayapura's Sentani airport, Budiono, said all the passengers were Indonesians, and included three local government officials and two members of the local parliament who were to attend a ceremony Monday in Oksibil marking the 70th anniversary of Indonesia's independence from Dutch colonial rule.

Like many Indonesians, Budiono goes by one name.

Oksibil, about 280 kilometers (175 miles) south of Jayapura, was experiencing heavy rain, strong winds and fog when the plane lost contact with the airport minutes before it was scheduled to land.

The victims' relatives, who had been waiting at the airport, broke down in tears when they heard the news. Many of them accused the airline of taking too long to give them information.

"They are unprofessional ... they play with our feelings of grieving," said Cory Gasper, whose brother Jhon Gasper was on the plane.

The airline released a public apology just after a search plane spotted the smoldering wreckage of the aircraft on Monday.

It's unclear what caused the crash, and Indonesia's transportation safety commission has opened an investigation.

The passengers included four postal workers escorting four bags of cash totaling $468,750 in government aid for poor families to help offset a spike in fuel prices, said Franciscus Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, the provincial capital.

Rescuers have found the money, which was partly scorched, and will hand it over to the authorities, Soelistyo said.

Indonesia has had a string of airline tragedies in recent years. In December, all 162 people aboard an AirAsia jet were killed when the plane plummeted into the Java Sea as it flew through stormy weather on its way from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, to Singapore.

The sprawling archipelago nation of 250 million people and some 17,000 islands is one of Asia's most rapidly expanding airline markets, but it is struggling to provide enough qualified pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and updated airport technology to ensure safety.

From 2007 to 2009, the European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns.

Trigana Air Service, which began operations in 1991, had 22 aircraft as of December 2013 and flies to 21 destinations in Indonesia. The carrier has had 19 serious incidents since 1992, resulting in the loss of eight aircraft and major damage to 11 others, according to the Aviation Safety Network's online database.

The airline remains banned from flying to Europe along with six other Indonesian carriers.

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