Indonesia crash: Plane was carrying cash lifeline for the poor

Story highlights

  • The plane's flight data recorder is still missing, an official says, correcting what he said earlier
  • Officials were transporting money to distribute to poor families in a mountainous area
  • Air Trigana flight crashed Sunday during a short domestic flight, killing all 54 people on board

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN)A passenger plane that crashed in a remote area of Indonesia this week was carrying nearly half a million dollars' worth of cash meant for impoverished families.

Officials from the Indonesian postal service were traveling with the money to distribute it to around 6,600 people in the mountainous region, said Andi Dulung, director-general of social support at the Indonesia Ministry of Social Affairs.
    Rescue workers reached the site of the Trigana Air flight crash in Papua province Tuesday, finding the bodies of all 54 people who were on board.
    The plane that crashed was carrying nearly $500,000 in cash for the needy.
    The search teams also found money at the crash site -- some of it burned and some in good condition -- according to Hadi M. Djuraid, a Transport Ministry official.
    The flight was carrying 6.5 billion rupiah (about $470,000), Dulung said. The cash was due to be handed out to poor families because of a lack of infrastructure in the region. There are no banks to transfer or withdraw money in some districts of Papua province.
    Each registered family was to receive 600,000 rupiahs ($50) in funds. About 4,350 families in the area had already received their share of the assistance.
    It's not yet clear why the plane went down Sunday during a short domestic flight from the provincial capital to an inland town.
    Villagers reported seeing a plane crash into a mountain about 14 kilometers (9 miles) from the airport where the plane was supposed to land, according to Indonesian aviation authorities.
    Authorities said Wednesday that they have recovered the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder but are still looking for the flight data recorder.
    Heronimus Guru, the deputy director of operations for Indonesia's national search and rescue agency, had said Tuesday that both recorders were found, but he corrected himself Wednesday.
    The recorders could help shed light on what happened.
    Most of the bodies -- 31 out of 54 -- have been removed from the remote crash site by ground crews, officials said Wednesday. Officials had hoped to take the bodies away by helicopter, but bad weather stopped those plans.
    The recovery teams face tough challenges, as Papua has few roads connecting cities, towns and tribal villages.
    The plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew members when it went down. All those on board were Indonesian.