Forty-nine people were killed when a military transport plane crashed into a residential area two minutes after take-off in northern Indonesia on Tuesday. The C-130 Hercules aircraft, which first went into service more than 50 years ago, plunged into houses and a hotel in a built-up area of the Sumatra city of Medan, killing passengers on board and people on the ground.
Out of the 113 passengers, 101 were family members of military personnel, according to Agus Supriatna, Indonesia’s air force chief. This is the second time in 10 years that an airplane has crashed into a Medan, which has a population of about 3.4 million people and is the third most populous city in Indonesia after the capital, Jakarta, and Surabaya.
In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into a crowded residential community shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground. Speaking on Tuesday’s incident, Supriatna said the pilot told the control tower that the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble. “The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport,” he said. Also speaking, Mardiaz Dwihananto, police chief of Medan city, said several bodies had been recovered from the wreckage.