Fuselage of aircraft in Riau crash found, 2 more bodies recovered

Indonesian rescuers collect wreckages of the crashed Skytruck police airplane on the water of Senayang, Riau Islands, Indonesia on Dec 6, 2016.
Indonesian rescuers collect wreckages of the crashed Skytruck police airplane on the water of Senayang, Riau Islands, Indonesia on Dec 6, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA - Rescuers have located the fuselage of a police transport aircraft that crashed last Saturday morning (Dec 3), and recovered at least two more bodies,among other body parts from the waters off Pulau Lingga, in the Riau Islands, said the police on Wednesday (Dec 7).

The area for search and rescue (SAR) efforts have also been expanded, said Indonesian national police spokesman, Colonel Rikwanto, who was speaking to reporters.

There were 13 people, including the pilot and crew, on the plane that crashed. And some 16 vessels, two helicopters, one aircraft and 151 personnel have been mobilised to locate the survivors and recover the wreckage in a joint task force that comprises Basarnas, Indonesia's coast guard and navy, as well as the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Singapore.

The RCC is managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and supported by other agencies.

Search and rescue operations started shortly after the twin-engine aircraft lost radar contact with Singapore air traffic control in the country's Flight Information Region at 11.22am Singapore time. Singapore has been managing flights over some areas in Riau since 1946.

CAAS said last Saturday that the plane took off at 10.24am Singapore time and was expected to arrive in Batam at 11.58am. Batam is an hour behind Singapore.

Local fishermen had earlier on Saturday found body parts, as well as backpacks and suitcases, among the debris of the aircraft near Pulau Senayang, in Riau Islands.

Eyewitnesses reported that the Polish-made M-28 Skytruck exploded on impact, said Riau Islands police chief Sam Budigusdian.

A body that was recovered from the crash site on Saturday had yet to be identified and has been sent for DNA testing.

wahyudis@sph.com.sg