Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Indonesian military transport plane crush killed 97 people

MAGETAN, Indonesia (AFP) – An Indonesian military transport plane carrying soldiers and their families crashed into homes and erupted in flames, killing at least 97 people, the air force spokesman said.

"The death toll is now 97 people and 15 injured," spokesman Bambang Sulistio told AFP.

Tv footage showed the burning wreckage of the Hercules scattered in rice paddies in Magetan, East Java, about 100 miles east of Yogyakarta.

"The plane hit some houses, bounced, hit the ground and then caught fire," one witness told Metro TV.

"The engines were good, the weather was good. Was it human error? We can't confirm that yet," Tamboen said.

Sudarsono said the cause of the crash was being investigated. But he complained that the military's budget was insufficient to ensure aircraft received minimum maintenance.

He said, "Ideally, the maintenance cost should be 20 to 25 percent of the overall military budget but at present it's below 10 percent,"