Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Indonesian military transport plane crashed on the island of Java

At least two people died on the ground as the plane hit houses before skidding into a rice field where it caught fire. The plane, en route from Jakarta to eastern Java, came down not far from an air base where it was heading. Visibility appears to have been good and there is no indication yet of what caused the crash. The C-130 Hercules had been carrying about 110 passengers and crew. Ten children were reported to have been on board. Fifteen passengers - some with bad burns - survived, officials said.

The plane was due to land at Iswahyudi air force base and struck houses in the village of Geplak, a few kilometres away, at about 0630 local time (2330 GMT).
The aircraft was almost completely destroyed in the crash; wreckage was strewn across rice fields and only the tail was left intact.
Rescue teams have been pulling the dead and injured from the smoking debris.
Eyewitnesses spoke of a big explosion before the plane came down near the town of Madiun.

A local villager, quoted by Kompas newspaper's website, said some aircraft parts including nuts and bolts fell from the sky. "One of the wings fell off... Then the plane nose-dived into the houses." A survivor said it felt like the plane's engines just stopped and then the aircraft began to break apart in mid-air. The man, who was interviewed on local TV, was thrown clear of the plane as it came down

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