At least 38 bodies have been found among the wreckage of a Trigana Air Service plane that crashed with 54 people on board in Indonesia, the national news service Antara confirmed Tuesday morning.
The ATR 42-300 passenger plane disappeared Sunday, and a search and rescue plane later spotted debris believed to be from the plane in the heavily forested Bintang Mountains district.
Antara confirmed remarks by Bambang Soelistyo, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, BASARNAS, that "our rescuers have reached the crash site."
"The plane has crashed, it is completely destroyed," Bambang told Agence France-Presse, adding that the search crew arrived at the site in Papua province at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday (8:30 p.m. Monday ET).
"Everything was in pieces, and part of the plane is burned," he said, according to AFP. "We could see burn marks on some pieces."
Antara said the plane, which carried 49 passengers and five crew members, all of them Indonesian nationals, crashed near Papua's Oksob waterfall. Efforts to evacuate all the passengers on board the plane were hampered by extreme weather, the news service reported.
The plane, which took off from Sentani Airport in Jayapura on Sunday afternoon and was scheduled to land in Oksibil about an hour later, was carrying cash worth around $470,000 for remote villages, a post office spokesman said, but there was no suggestion that the large sum of money was linked to the crash.