Treacherous terrain hampers rescue efforts for crashed Indonesian plane

  •  Treacherous terrain hampers rescuers' efforts, official says
  •  Says rescuers will have to build helipad at site to fly in help

There was no suggestion the large sum of money carried on the plane was linked to the crash.

READ ALSO: Crashed Indonesian plane was carrying nearly $500,000 in cash

Guru told reporters the cash was not a priority and confirmation of the cause of the crash would have to await an official investigation by a national transport safety panel.

"I feel that it collided into a mountain, but let's wait for the KNKT," he said, referring to the panel by its official name, the National Transportation Safety Commmittee.

Erratic weather could have played a role in the crash, said another official.

"It's the weather there, it changes all the time. In the morning it can be clear and hot, and then suddenly it rains," said Sito, a communications operator with the rescue agency in Jayapura.

A Super Puma helicopter crashed in the same area last year, said Sito, who goes by one name, like many Indonesians.

The crashed ATR 42-300 made its first flight 27 years ago, the Aviation Safety Network says. Trigana Air Service has a fleet of 14 aircraft, aged 26.6 years on average, the database says.

Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991, online database Aviation Safety Network says. Besides the latest crash, it has written off 10 aircraft.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record, with two major plane crashes in the past year.

One involved an AirAsia flight that went down in the Java Sea, killing all 162 aboard. In June, more than 100 people died in the crash of a military transport plane, prompting Indonesia's president to promise a review of the ageing air force fleet. ($1=13,785 rupiah)