At least 30 dead as plane crashes into Medan, Indonesia
An INDONESIAN military plane has crashed in the city of Medan in Sumatra killing at least 30 people, officials have said.
The Hercules C-130 was thought to be carrying 12 people when it came down in the fourth largest city in Indonesia, shortly after midday, among houses and a hotel. However, conflicting reports indicate that the plane was transporting as many as 50 people at the time of the crash, according to the latest from the Associated Press.
Officials told reporters that 37 bodies had been removed from the crash site and taken to a nearby hospital, according to North Sumatra police chief Eko Hadi Sutedjo.
Two people from the neighbourhood in Medan are reported to have been critically injured and are currently receiving medical attention in hospital.
Hisar Turnip, a Search and Rescue spokesperson, told reporters: "The latest information we have is that 30 have died.... The number could go up".
Earlier, a spokesperson for the Adam Malik hospital confirmed that 20 bodies had been received by the hospital so far, but this number appears to be in near constant flux.
A local radio station, El Shinta, reported homes had been hit while local television screened images appearing to show an aeroplane in flames. On social media images circulated appearing to show huge plumes of black smoke billowing into the skies above the crowded city.
"I saw the plane from the direction of the airport and it was tilting already, then I saw smoke billowing," an eye-witness toldAFP.
Military spoksersperson Fuad Basya emphasised that the scale of the crash was still unknown, but that the military was investigating as a rescue effort is believed to be underway.
Dwi Badarmanto, an air force spokesperson, said that crash had occurred a few minutes before midday after the plane took off from an air force base in the city en route to the remote Natuna islands.
The pilot is believed to have radioed control to ask to return after reporting technical problems.