Search and rescue teams have found the flight recorder for a Trigana Air passenger aircraft that crashed in eastern Indonesia, killing all 54 on board, according to officials.

"At 1:40 local time the Trigana Air black box was found," Transportation Ministry official Julius Arivada Barata told the Reuters news agency by text message on Tuesday.

Major-General Heronimus Guru, operations director at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, told a news conference in the capital, Jakarta, on the same day that all passengers on the plane were dead and their remains were being put into body bags and recovered.

Officials have declined to comment on the cause of Sunday's crash until the results of an investigation by the national transport safety committee, but Guru said the terrain in Indonesia's easternmost province may have been a factor.

"There's a possibility the aircraft hit a peak and then fell into a ravine because the place that it was found is steep," Guru said.

Earlier, the National Search and Rescue Agency said the twin turboprop ATR-42-300 probably hit a peak on Sunday before crashing into a ravine in the Bintang Mountains district, about seven nautical miles from Oksibil.

ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica.

Plane was carrying money

There were 44 adult passengers, five children and infants and five crew on the short-haul flight from provincial capital Jayapura south to Oksibil town.

The aircraft was also carrying about $470,000 destined for remote villages, as part of an assistance programme. There was no suggestion the money was somehow linked to the crash.

Officials from Trigana were not immediately available to respond to questions from Reuters. The airliner has been placed on a European Union list of banned carriers since 2007 over safety or regulatory concerns.

All on board were Indonesian, officials said.

The aircraft 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, according to the airfleets.net database.

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 record, with other two major crashes in the past year.

In December, an AirAsia flight went down in the Java Sea, killing all 162 aboard. More than 100 people died in June in a crash of a military transport plane.

Source: Agencies