30 Killed As Plane Crashes In Residential Area

Reports early Tuesday say at least 30 people have been killed in a military transport plane crash in a residential area of the Indonesian city of Medan.

Local TV reported that the Hercules crashed into two houses and a car and burst into flames.

Military spokesman Fuad Basya told said the plane came down soon after take-off and that there were at least 12 crew members on board.

The officials say that bodies were recovered from the plane wreckage.

A major rescue operation is under way at the crash site which was covered in flames and thick black smoke as at the time of filling this report.

Large crowds watched the emergency services search the flaming wreckage, with the fuselage of the aircraft visible through the thick plumes of smoke. Buildings in the area of the crash were clearly damaged.

“I saw the plane from the direction of the airport and it was tilting already, then I saw smoke billowing,” a local resident told the AFP news agency.

The cause of the crash is not yet clear but Air Force Chief of Staff Agus Supriatna said that the pilot had asked to return to base because of technical difficulties.

“The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport”, he said.

Correspondents say that it is the second time in 10 years that a plane has crashed in Medan. In September 2005, a Boeing 737 came down in a crowded residential area shortly after take-off from Medan’s Polonia airport, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.


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