20 dead after Indonesian military plane crashes in flames

2015-06-30 10:11
Officials secure the scene where an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules crashed into a residential area in Medan. (Muhammad Zulfan Dalimunthe, AFP)

Officials secure the scene where an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules crashed into a residential area in Medan. (Muhammad Zulfan Dalimunthe, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Medan - An Indonesian air force transport plane crashed on Tuesday shortly after take-off, exploding in a fireball in a city residential area and killing at least 20 people.

Buildings near the crash zone were severely damaged and cars were reduced to flaming wrecks when the Hercules C-130 came down in the city of Medan on the western island of Sumatra.

A major rescue operation swung into action, with ambulances ferrying bodies from the accident site, and crowds of anxious residents gathering around a police cordon to get a look.

Novi, who works at an international school near the accident site and goes by one name, said she heard the aircraft and from her office window saw it flying very low before it crashed.

"It was very scary," she told AFP, adding she rushed to the site with her colleagues but the wreckage and plumes of smoke looked "very bad".

Another local resident Januar, 26, said the plane appeared to be in trouble just before the accident.

"I saw the plane from the direction of the airport and it was tilting already, then I saw smoke billowing."

A hospital in Medan said 20 bodies had so far been brought in.

"Twenty bodies have arrived at the hospital's morgue," Sairi Saragih, spokesperson for the Adam Malik hospital, told AFP.

Poor air safety record

There were 12 crew on board the plane, which had been transporting military supplies to airbases. Local media reported they consisted of three pilots, one navigator and eight technicians.

The crash was in a newly built residential area and officials said it was unclear whether anyone was in the buildings at the time of the accident.

"The bodies have been crushed by debris of the buildings and the fuselage," said local police chief Mardiaz Dwihananto, adding they were being ferried one by one to hospital.

Military spokesperson Fuad Basya said the plane took off at 12:08 from an air force base and crashed in the city about two minutes later, about 5km from the base.

Search and rescue agency official Tatang Zainuddin said teams in the area had been quickly called up to recover victims.

The Indonesian air force has suffered accidents before.

In April an F-16 fighter jet caught fire as it was about to take off from an airbase in Jakarta, prompting the pilot to jump to safety as flames and thick smoke engulfed the plane.

The pilot escaped with minor injuries from the jet, which had been due to provide security at a summit of Asian and African leaders in Indonesia.

In March two air force planes from an Indonesian aerobatics team crashed during a practice session before an air show on Malaysia's Langkawi island. All four pilots ejected successfully and survived.

Indonesia also has a poor civil aviation safety record. An Indonesia AirAsia plane crashed in December en route from Indonesia's Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  air crashes

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.