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78 dead in military aircraft crash in east Java (Updated)

Updated 2.44pm, 20 May 2009

JAKARTA, 20 May 2009: Seventy-eight people were confirmed dead when an Indonesian air force’s Hercules C-130 aircraft, with about 130 people onboard, plunged into a housing area in Magetan, east Java this morning.

Authorities fear death toll could top 100, including among the villagers whose houses were crushed in the incident at about 6am.

Until noon, local media reported the death toll to be between 90 and 100.

An air force spokesperson, Bambang Sulistyo, was quoted by the detikcom website as saying that 78 people were confirmed dead and had been taken out of the scene.

The authorities are now identifying the bodies, he added.

Local television stations reported that 15 people survived the incident but sustained injuries including burn injuries.

According to the air force, the aircraft was carrying personnel and several family members as well as logistical equipment for the armed forces serving in the Indonesian eastern region.

Indonesian army headquarters’ spokesperson Sagom Tamboen was quoted by Antara news agency as saying that the aircraft was carrying nine crew and 98 passengers, including 10 children.

Meanwhile, the air force maintenance chief Sunaryo said the ill-fated aircraft underwent service a year ago.

“Since then it had gone on 800 hours of flight and is still flight worthy,” he said. — Bernama

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