An Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules carrying 98 passengers and 14 crew on a regular flight from the capital, Jakarta, to the eastern most province of Papua crashed in a rice field at about 06:20 (23:20-1 GMT) in Geplak village and burst into flames crashed into several homes and burst into flames Wednesday, killing at least 79 people, including two on the ground.
Nineteen survivors have been rescued and transported to hospital. Recovery of badly burnt bodies continues and we can expect the death toll to increase. Local television is reported to be flashing footage of fire engulfed mangled wreckage.
The aircraft was transporting troops and their families, including at least 10 children, when it tumbled from the sky near an air force base in East Java province smashing in to a row of houses in Geplak village, killing three on the ground, before skidding into a rice field. Large chunks of the wreckage lie strewn across the paddy fields and bordering bushes.
It was not clear what caused the crash, but several witnesses described hearing a large explosion while it was still in the air and then seeing it split apart.
The Indonesian Air Force is still recovering from the crippling effects of sanctions and low budget allocations. This is the second fatal accident involving their planes in recent weeks. Just 5 weeks earlier, on April 6, a Fokker F-27 crashed and burst into flames in West Java’s capital, Bandung, killing all 24 officers on board.