Trigana Air crash: Evacuation of bodies delayed due to bad weather

The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said the bodies of 54 people from a Trigana Air plane that crashed in Oksibil, Pegunungan Bintang regency, Papua, on Sunday had not yet been evacuated due to bad weather.

"Currently, all of the bodies have been put into corpse bags and are ready to be evacuated from the crash site; however, thick fog has covered the location, halting the evacuation process," said Basarnas chief Air Marshal FHB Sulistyo at the Jayapura Air Force Base on Tuesday.

He said the evacuation should be carried out on Wednesday. Following a delay in the evacuation, he added, the SAR team, comprised of 58 personnel, would spend the night on site. "They will evacuate the bodies tomorrow if the weather is good," said Sulistyo.

He further explained that the SAR team would evacuate the bodies by air as it would be more time efficient.

"If they evacuate the bodies by land, it will take almost four hours for them to reach the crash site in Oksibil; thus, it will be faster and easier for the SAR team to evacuate the victims with a helicopter," said Sulistyo.

He said two helicopters had been readied at Oksibil Airport for the evacuation process. "A Bell helicopter from Freeport's SAR team and an MI helicopter from the Indonesian Army are on stand by Oksibil Airport for the evacuation tomorrow," said Sulistyo.

Basarnas confirmed on Monday that all Trigana Air passengers and crew members died in the incident after it received a report from a SAR team dispatched to the crash site from a Airfast Bell helicopter provided by mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia.