Air force plane in city crash

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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