Indonesia plane crash kills 64: medics

JAKARTA (AFP) — At least 64 people were killed when an Indonesian military transport plane crashed in East Java, staff at a military hospital said. Television footage showed the burning wreckage of the Hercules scattered in rice paddies in Magetan, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) east of Yogyakarta. At least 64 people were killed including five on the ground, media reports said. “The plane hit some houses, bounced, hit the ground and then caught fire,” one witness told Metro TV. East Java military chief Suwarno told the state-run Antara news agency that the aircraft was carrying 98 passengers and 14 crew. The crash occurred as the plane was preparing to land at Iswahyudi military airbase, Antara reported. It is the second accident involving an Indonesian air force Hercules in two weeks, after one overshot the runway of Wamena airport in Papua on May 10. One person was reportedly injured in that incident. In response to the Wamena accident, the air force said it would check its Hercules fleet, which is being upgraded with airframe and engine capability improvements. Early last month, 24 military personnel died when their Fokker 27 training aircraft careered into a hangar and burst into flames at an air base in West Java. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelegic nation and relies heavily on air travel, but accidents are common and its commercial airlines are banned from flying in European Union airspace for safety reasons. Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved. More »