Dozens dead in Indonesian plane crash
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
A Garuda Indonesia passenger plane with 140 people on board has crashed and burst into flames in Yogyakarta, Indonesia today. At least 21 people have died after the jet plane overshot the runway at 0700 local time. The Indonesian air company Garuda said earlier that at least 49 persons were killed but have now changed the estimate.
95 people have been confirmed as having survived the crash, including Din Syamsudin, the leader of the Muhammadiyah Islamic organisation. Survivors are being treated in a local hospital for severe injuries and burns.
Survivors report that the aircraft was shaking violently prior to the crash. The operations chief at Adisucpito International Airport said that the front wheel of the jet was on fire as it landed, causing the vehicle to skid off the runway and veer into a boundary fence. An engine then broke away from the aircraft and the fuselage burst into flames.
It took firefighters over two hours to put out the blaze.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has confirmed that there were 9 Australians on board the flight, 4 of whom remain missing. The Australians included officials and journalists heading to Yogyakarta to prepare for the Foreign Minister's arrival there. The journalists known to be onboard include Cynthia Banham of the Sydney Morning Herald and Channel Seven cameraman Wayne Sukarda. Fairfax media are still attempting to contact a journalist from The Australian Financial Review.
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