115 Dead in Indonesia Plane Crash

115 Dead  in Indonesia  Plane Crash115 Dead  in Indonesia  Plane Crash

At least 115 people aboard an Indonesian airforce C-130 have been killed, when the plane crashed in a residential neighborhood in the city of Medan on the northern island of Sumatra, on Tuesday, according to military officials.

"For the moment we know there were 115 people (on board). It looks like there are no survivors," Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told Metro TV in the Sumatra city of Medan, adding that some of the passengers were air force families, Reuters reported.

The crash of the C-130B Hercules aircraft, which went into service half a century ago, is bound to put a fresh spotlight on Indonesia's woeful air safety record and its aging planes.

Officials said the plane plunged into a built-up area of the Sumatra city of Medan. Eyewitnesses said it had appeared to explode shortly before it smashed into houses and a hotel.

An official at a nearby hospital who declined to be named said 55 bodies had been brought in. In the first hours after the crash, officials said only a crew of 12 service personnel were on board.

Black smoke billowed from the wreckage and crowds of people milling around the area initially hampered emergency services rushing to the scene.

The Hercules transport plane was on its way from an airforce base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Sumatra. Media said the pilot had asked to return because of technical problems.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, there have been 10 fatal crashes involving Indonesian military or police aircraft over the last decade. The accidents put under a spotlight the safety record of Indonesia's aviation and its aging aircraft.

The Indonesian airforce has now lost four C-130s, reducing its transport reach in an archipelago that stretches more than 5,000 km from its western to eastern tips.