Indonesian rescuers find Aviastar plane wreckage in Sulawei jungle

 A relative of a passenger onboard the missing Aviastar plane shows her picture on his mobile phone at a crisis centre in Hasanuddin International Airport in South Sulawesi.
A relative of a passenger onboard the missing Aviastar plane shows her picture on his mobile phone at a crisis centre in Hasanuddin International Airport in South Sulawesi.PHOTO: EPA

MAKASSAR (AFP) - Rescuers Monday found the wreckage of a plane carrying 10 people that disappeared during a flight in central Indonesia last week, the latest accident to hit the archipelago nation's aviation sector.

The Aviastar aircraft, whose passengers included three children, went missing Friday shortly after taking off from a remote airport on Sulawesi island en route for the city of Makassar to the south.

The debris of the Twin Otter DHC-6 plane was discovered Monday afternoon in jungles on the island, along with some of the victims, after teams of rescuers, planes and boats were deployed on a massive search.

"The plane was found on land, destroyed," said local police chief Pudji Hartanto. "Some passengers were found dead." He did not say how many victims were found.

Search and rescue agency chief, Bambang Soelistyo, confirmed the wreckage had been found and said officials were preparing to retrieve the bodies of the passengers and crew on Tuesday.

The discovery came after authorities expanded the search earlier on Monday, dispatching aircraft and boats to scour waters off Sulawesi after initial operations on land failed to find the plane.

Aviastar is an Indonesian domestic passenger airline.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered a string of deadly crashes in recent times.

In August, 54 people were killed when a plane crashed in remote Papua province, while an AirAsia aircraft went down last year in the Java Sea with the loss of 162 lives.