The twin turboprop plane that crashed into a mountainside yesterday in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua was carrying almost half a million dollars in government cash in addition to 44 adult passengers, five children and infants, and five crew members, all Indonesian nationals, Reuters and the AP report. The $468,750 in cash from the Social Affairs Ministry, carried by four postal workers, was to be handed out to poor families in Oksibil after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration raised fuel prices last year and cut government subsidies. The plane, which took off from Jayapura, crashed just seven miles from its destination.
Rescue officials are now trying to reach the wreckage of the Trigana Air Service plane, located near a waterfall in a rugged area, by air and foot, reports the BBC; it's not yet known if there are any survivors. "Smoke was still billowing from the wreckage when it was spotted by a plane search," says a rescue official, who notes the rescue operation has been slowed by bad weather and difficult terrain. The area around the crash site was experiencing heavy rain, strong winds, and fog at the time of the crash. The official adds air force and army officials will build a helipad near the crash site, located at an altitude of about 8,500 feet. (Read more Indonesia stories.)