Air force plane in city crash
AN INDONESIAN air force transport plane ploughed into a residential neighbourhood in the country’s third- largest city of Medan shortly after takeoff last night, killing dozens.
Television footage showed the wreckage of the C- 130 Hercules, a burning car and a shattered building that local media said was recently built and contained a spa, shops and homes. Smoke billowed from the site and several thousand people milled nearby. Rescue teams scrambled over the rubble, searching for survivors.
Air force chief Air Marshal Agus Supriatna said 49 bodies had been recovered and taken to Medan’s Adam Malik hospital.
The plane’s manifest showed there were 50 people on the flight from Medan to the remote Natuna island chain, according to North Sumatra police chief Eko Hadi Sutedjo, but the actual number might be higher.
Air Marshal Supriatna said there were 12 crew and more than 100 passengers on the plane before it reached Medan on Sumatra.
Many passengers were families of military personnel. Hitching rides on military planes to reach remote destinations is common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that spans three time zones.
Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record.
From 2007- 09, the European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns.
The country’s most recent civilian airline disaster was in December when an AirAsia jet with 162 people aboard crashed into the Java Sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore.
There have been five fatal crashes involving air force planes since 2008, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aviation disasters.