Scores die in Indonesian plane crash
At least 97 killed after military aircraft carrying more than 100 people crashes into East Java village
* Justin McCurry
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 May 2009 08.18 BST
At least 97 people were killed today after an Indonesian military plane carrying more than 100 people crashed into a village in East Java province.
Officials at the scene said dozens of others had been injured, while the death toll is expected rise as more victims are discovered inside the wreckage and on the ground.
According to local reports, the C-130 Hercules came down at about 6:30am local time on Wednesday, ploughing through several homes in Geplak village, 325 miles east of the capital, Jakarta, before bursting into flames and skidding to a stop in a rice paddy.
TV footage showed local people frantically trying to extinguish the flames with buckets of water.
Wire reports in Jakarta quoted air force spokesmen as saying that the aircraft was carrying 112 passengers and crew, including at least 10 children, while 15 passengers appeared to have survived the crash.
The cause of the crash, one of several recent accidents involving the Indonesian air force, was not immediately clear. Flying conditions were described as good, and the US-made plane had been passed fit to fly, a military spokesman, Sabom Tamboen, told reporters.
Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion while the plane was still airborne, and that it then appeared to split apart. The crash occurred as the aircraft was flying from Jakarta to Madiun in East Java province.
One villager, Agus Yulianto, said one of the wings had fallen off shortly before the Hercules plummeted. "Then the plane nosedived into the houses," he wrote on the website of Indonesia's Kompas newspaper.
The crash is another blow to the country's air safety record. Last month a Fokker-27 training aircraft crashed into an airport hangar, killing all 24 military personnel on board, while in recent years more than 120 people have died in commercial airline accidents in the country.
Two major accidents in 2007 prompted the EU to ban Indonesian commercial airlines from using its airspace.
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