117 Reported Dead in Indonesian Plane Crash

September 5, 2005

A Boeing 737-200, operated by low-cost airline Mandala, crashed into a densely populated part of the city of Medan on the Indonesian island of Sumatra early this morning, Sept. 5, shortly after take off.

All 117 persons aboard the plane are feared dead, as well as a number of people on the ground. Intense fires at the scene of the crash have hampered rescue efforts, as local emergency crews have been unable to gain access to the site. Some reports indicate that a few persons may have survived the crash, but these are unconfirmed.

There’s no indication as yet as to the possible causes for the crash, the latest in a series of disasters that have hit a number of secondary and charter carriers (See IJ Website Aug. 14, 16 and 23).

Mandala Airlines was established by Indonesia’s military in 1969. Its fleet consists primarily of 737’s of the type that crashed – all of which were made in the 1970’s. News reports indicate that the airline has been under pressure to cut costs and reduce services. The plane was, however, reportedly completely overhauled in June and certified as conforming to safety standards.

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