JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian rescuers on Sunday recovered body parts in the sea where a police plane with 13 people aboard is believed to have crashed the previous day.
The light aircraft lost contact Saturday on the way to the island of Batam, which is near Singapore, after taking off from an island off the southeast coast of Sumatra. All those aboard, including five crew and eight passengers, are feared dead, officials said.
The M28 Skytruck plane is believed to have plunged into 24-meter (79-foot) -deep waters, said National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.
He told a news conference that remains, probably of the victims, were found in the area where villagers earlier retrieved a seat and a bag containing a cellphone and police documents. He added that an oil spill was also found in the area.
TV footage showed police uniforms and other clothing also were retrieved from the sea.
In Batam, local police chief Brig. Gen. Sambudi Gusdian quoted witnesses as saying they saw the plane explode after it crashed into the sea off Lingga district.
Search teams involving Indonesia's navy, customs office and maritime police, as well as aircraft from Singapore, were scouring a 518-square-kilometer (200-square-mile) sea area for the wreckage of the aircraft, Soelistyo said. Divers also were deployed.
It was at least the second air accident in Indonesia in just over a week. On Nov. 24, a Bell 412 EP helicopter from the Indonesian army crashed in Indonesia's part of Borneo island, killing three and leaving one missing.
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelagic nation of more than 250 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, from plane and train crashes to ferry sinkings.