Indonesian Military Plane Crash Kills At Least 97

By Daniel Schearf


Bangkok (RPRN) 5/20/2009
–An Indonesian military plane has crashed, killing at least 97 people. The military transport plane crashed into homes near an air force base Wednesday morning as it was coming in for a landing.

Over one hundred military personnel and their families were on board the Hercules C-130 plane when it went down in an area of East Java.

Rescuers search for victims at the wreckage of a crashed military C-130 cargo plane in Magetan, East Java, Indonesia, 20 May 2009
Rescuers search for victims at the wreckage of a crashed military C-130 cargo plane in Magetan, East Java, Indonesia, 20 May 2009
Witnesses reported seeing parts of the plane falling from the sky and hearing explosions.

Indonesian television showed burning wreckage scattered across rice paddies. The tail was the only section of the plane left intact.

First Marshal Bambang Sulistyo is a spokesman for the air force. He says there is an investigation under way to determine what caused the crash.

He gives the death toll and says it may rise, but so far there are 15 survivors.

Indonesian authorities said the plane, which had been scheduled to fly on to Indonesia’s Papua province, was almost 30 years old.

Indonesia’s air force has suffered a series of deadly crashes.

In April, 24 military personnel died when their Fokker aircraft crashed into a hangar at an air base in West Java.

Indonesia’s commercial aircrafts have also in recent years suffered deadly crashes.

The poor safety record led the European Union to ban Indonesian airlines from its airspace.