78 dead in Indonesian military plane crash (Second Lead)

May 20th, 2009 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, May 20 (DPA) At least 78 people were killed when an Indonesian military plane with more than 100 people on board crashed Wednesday into a residential neighbourhood in East Java province, officials and media reports said. Nineteen survivors were taken to hospital.
Bodies had been recovered, including those of two people who were on the ground when the Hercules C-130 crashed in Magetan district while on a regular flight to the country’s easternmost province of Papua from the capital, Jakarta, officials said.

“I heard two explosions, and the plane burst into flames,” resident Tofa told Metro TV.

The East Java military commander, Major General Suwarno, said the plane was carrying 98 passengers - including 10 children - and 14 crew when it crashed about 6.20 a.m. about seven kilometres west of Madiun.

“At this stage, 78 people are dead and their bodies have been evacuated to Iswayudi hospital” in Madiun, Air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo was quoted as saying by the detik.com online news portal.

Bambang said he expected the death toll to rise because a number of injured were in critical condition.

Local media put the death toll at more than 80 with rescue workers recovering more bodies from the plane’s debris.

Television footage showed the plane split in two and black smoke billowing into the sky from its burning fuselage and partly intact tail section located in a rice field.

Witnesses said the plane was shaking and one of its wings was stripped away before it plummeted to the ground.

A local official said some survivors suffered serious burns. “The victims are still being evacuated from the scene,” Wardi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, told Metro TV.

An official at Iswayudi hospital said 19 survivors were brought to the hospital. Nine other injured people, including two children, were sent to another hospital in the same town. Several of them were in critical condition.

“Several of them were suffering serious injuries, bleeding severely,” said Sumringah, a nurse at Madiun’s Sudono hospital. “Some of them were unconscious when they arrived here in this hospital.”

The plane was on a routine delivery flight to Papua with stopovers scheduled in Madiun, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Ambon in Maluku province, Bambang said.

It was the second fatal accident involving an Indonesian Air Force plane in recent weeks. On April 6, a Fokker F-27 crashed and burst into flames in West Java’s capital, Bandung, killing all 24 officers on board.

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