An Indonesian military plane carrying over 100 people plunged into a residential area in Medan, the country’s third largest city. The death toll has reached over 80 on Tuesday. But authorities aren’t hopeful anyone survived the crash.
The C-130 Hercules took off from Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on Tuesday, Air Marshal Agus Supriatna, Indonesia’s air force commander, said. It made two stops toward Medan, in Pekanbaru and Dumai. Its initial passenger load was 122, including 110 passengers and 12 crew members. But Supriatna cannot say just how much passengers were onboard the plane when it crashed given the two stops the aircraft made earlier.
Supriatna told local Metro TV that some of the passengers were family members of the country’s air force personnel. “For the moment we know there were 113 people (on board). It looks like there are no survivors.”
An Indonesian Red Cross official cited by CNN as Zukifli said the death toll from the tragic accident has reached 86. The number is likely to rise, Zukifli added. One child has been confirmed among the dead. None of the bodies have so far been identified, Eko Hadi Sutedjo, police chief of the North Sumatra province, said. They also have yet to determine how many of the victims are military personnel and how many are civilians.
The 51-year-old Hercules plane, built in the United States in the 1960s, crashed two minutes after it took off from the Soewondo air force base. It was reportedly bound for the South China Sea to drop off supplies to the Natuna Islands. It hit a massage parlor and a small hotel when it crashed. It killed three people on the ground, search and rescue officials said.
Photos that emerged online showed only the aircraft’s tail remained recognizable. The rest of its body had charred and turned to debris.
Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the accident. But a report by Christian Monitor says the plane encountered engine trouble. The pilot was able to report this to the control tower and that he would turn back the plane. Unfortunately, the crash occurred just as the aircraft was heading towards the airport.
“It passed overhead a few times, really low,” Elfrida Efi, a receptionist at the nearby Golden Eleven Hotel, told Reuters. “There was fire and black smoke. The third time it came by it crashed into the roof of the hotel and exploded straight away,” she added.