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Over 110 killed in Indonesian military plane crash

Source: Al Jazeera

At least 113 people have been killed after an Indonesian air force C-130 plane crashed in a residential neighbourhood in the city of Medan on the northern island of Sumatra, according to military officials.

The plane came down on Tuesday hitting empty residential buildings after bursting into flames shortly after take off.

There were 12 crew members and 101 passengers on board the plane, the AFP news agency reported, citing officials who spoke to local television.

The Hercules transport plane was on its way from an air force base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Sumatra.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker said the dead included civilian relatives of military personnel.

“This was a C-130 military aircraft on a routine trip, carrying soldiers and their families,” she said.

“The pilot radioed in, saying there was an issue with the plane…he tried to turn back and then the plane went down over Medan. The plane went down in a populated area, hitting two empty buildings. That number could have been much higher.”

The Indonesian military has now opened an official investigation to try and figure out what went wrong.

Speaking shortly after the crash, Mardiaz Dwihananto, police chief of Medan city, said several bodies had been recovered from the wreckage.

“The bodies were in [the] debris of the plane and buildings… We are taking the bodies one by one by ambulance to Adam Malik hospital. We haven’t managed to evacuate all of the bodies,” Dwihananto said.

Local radio station, El Shinta, said earlier that the aircraft had hit homes, but it was not immediately clear if anyone inside had been killed or injured.

Military spokesman, Fuad Basya, said the plane took off at around midday local time from an air force base carrying military equipment and crashed in the city about two minutes later, about 5km from the base.

It is the second time in 10 years that a plane has crashed into a Medan neighbourhood.

In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, into a crowded residential community, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

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