Airplane crash in Indonesia kills 100

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Drawing of a C-130H

At least 98 people have been confirmed dead and a further fifteen wounded after an Indonesian Air Force Hercules C-130 airplane crashed in a housing area in the city of Magetan, East Java in Indonesia early Wednesday.

The plane had taken off from the country's capital of Jakarta and was preparing to land at a military base nearby the crash site.

"As such the total number of people dead or injured so far is 113, including the two people on the ground. Meanwhile, reports of another person who died but has not been found cannot be verified as yet," said Banbang Sulistyo, the air force's chief of information. He added that investigations are currently ongoing to determine what caused the accident.

The cause of the incident is as of yet uncertain, as the plane was reported to have been in good condition, and the weather was suitable for landing.

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called an emergency meeting at his presidential palace with the Armed Forces and Air Force chief and defence minister.

"From the explanation I received from them [...] it cannot be determined yet if the crash was because of weather conditions, mechanical failure or human error. It's better not to speculate what caused the crash," he told reporters after the meeting," the president said.

Witness reports say there was an explosion shortly before the plane crashed. "I heard at least two big explosions and saw flashes of fire inside the plane," said an eyewitness, a man working in a rice field near where the aircraft crashed. "The wing snapped off and fell to the ground."

The accident is the deadliest in the Indonesian Air Force's history since an airplane crash in 1991 in Condet, East Java, which killed 135 people.


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