Nearly half a million dollars worth of government cash was aboard a passenger plane that crashed in the mountains of eastern Indonesia, a local postal official said Monday. Flight TGN267, a Trigana Air Service turboprop plane with 54 people on board, was flying from Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, to Oksibil Sunday when it went down.
Four postal workers were escorting four bags of cash totaling $468,750 in government cash for poor families to help balance an increase in fuel prices, Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, told the Associated Press. The fuel aid from the Social Affairs Ministry was to be distributed to residents of the region's remote areas.
"They were carrying those bags (of cash) to be handed out to poor people in Oksibil through a post office there," Haryono said.
The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency on Monday said that the wreckage of the ATR42-300 twin turboprop plane was spotted about 7 miles from Oksibil. A photo of the suspected crash site was released by aviation news service Airlive on its Twitter account. However, the authenticity of the photo could not be confirmed.
— AirLive.net (@airlivenet) August 17, 2015
Zainul Thahar, a spokesman for the search and rescue agency, said the agency had “detected a signal” showing the location of the aircraft, the New York Times reported, adding that he did not confirm if the signal came from one of the plane’s black boxes. Authorities reportedly said that there was no indication that the pilot made a distress call.
"Smoke was still billowing from the wreckage when it was spotted by a plane search," Soelistyo, an official leading the rescue operation from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, reportedly said, adding that bad weather was hampering rescuers' efforts to reach the wreckage located in a mountainous area.
Five children, including two infants, were among the 49 passengers aboard the plane that was on a scheduled 42-minute flight Sunday. The fate of those on board still remains unclear.