Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rescuers find 18 bodies in Indonesia plane crash - 2nd Oct 2011

The bodies of all 18 people who were on board a plane that crashed into the jungle-covered mountains of western Indonesia were recovered from the wreckage Saturday, an official said.

The Spanish-designed CASA C-212 lost contact with air traffic control early Thursday while flying from North Sumatra to Aceh province. Minutes later, it sent out a distress signal, then dropped off the radar.

Rugged, forested terrain and bad weather had prevented rescuers from reaching the crash site by foot, and the wreckage was spotted from a helicopter Friday in the Leuser mountains at an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,524 meters).

Early Saturday, 13 rescuers were lowered by helicopter by rope to the crash site, following two others who had reached the site just before darkness fell Friday.

"They found the bodies in their seats with their seat belts on," Sunarbowo Sandi, head of the local search-and-rescue team, told The Associated Press from his monitoring post in a village near the crash site in the Bahorok region, about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Jakarta.

The bodies included all 14 passengers and four crew members. Four of the dead were children.

Hopes had been raised that there may be survivors after the aircraft was spotted intact with one of its doors open, and rescuers dropped food and medicine down to the crash site.

The victims' relatives, who had been waiting for information, broke down in tears when they learned that their loved ones were found dead. Many of them accused the airline -- PT Nusantara Buana Air -- of taking far too long to give them information. Read More