JAKARTA, May 20 (Kyodo) — (EDS: UPDATING WITH CONFLICTING FIGURES, MILITARY SPOKESMAN’S QUOTES, VICE PRESIDENT’S COMMENT, ADDING BACKGROUND)
An Indonesian military plan carrying more than 100 people crashed Wednesday in East Java Province, killing at least 84 people, military officials said.
The Hercules C-130 transport plane crashed at 6:20 a.m. in a rice field in the village of Geplak in densely populated Magetan Regency as it was on its way from Jakarta to the East Java town of Madiun.
The plane also hit two houses on the ground, setting them on fire.
Air Force Spokesman Air Commodore Bambang Soelistyo told Kyodo News that 84 people were killed and 15 others survived.
But in a press conference later on the day, Indonesian Defense Force Spokesman Rear Marshal Sagom Tamboen said 60 people were killed, consisting of 57 people on board and three villagers.
There was also conflicting information on the number of people who were on board. Soelistyo said the plane had 99 passengers and 11 crew members, but Tamboen said 98 passengers, including 10 children, and 11 crew members were on board.
“The plane was on a military air transport mission to carry soldiers and their families who were being moved from one place to another for assignments,” Tamboen said.
He said that after Madiun, the plane was to fly to the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar, the Maluku provincial capital of Ambon and the island of Biak in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua.
Investigators were endeavoring to determine the cause of the accident.
“The weather was good, (but) maybe some malfunction occurred before it could reach the runway,” Tamboen said. The runway in Madiun is about 7 kilometers from the crash scene.
In its online version, the Kompas daily quoted a Geplak villager as saying that before the plane crashed, some of its parts fell from the sky, followed later by an aircraft wing. He also said he saw some smoke when the plane was still flying.
Expressing his condolences to the victims, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said such accidents happen “because we don’t allocate enough budget” for the maintenance of military aircraft.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense