Military Plane Crashes Into Jakarta Homes; 10 Die

By ALI KOTARUMALOS | June 22, 2012

An Indonesian air force plane slammed into a military housing complex and ignited a huge fireball Thursday while trying to land in Jakarta, killing all seven people aboard as well as two toddlers and their nanny in a home.

The pilot, co-pilot and five trainees aboard the Fokker F-27 were on a routine training flight when it crashed into houses in a neighborhood nearly a mile from the runway where it was trying to land, Indonesian military spokesmen said.

Raging orange flames jumped several meters into the air and a huge column of black smoke billowed over the eight homes damaged in the crash in eastern Jakarta.

More than 10 people were injured.

“I could hardly believe my eyes. There was a military plane that crashed and hit the houses!” said Hendra, a resident of the air force complex who goes by only one name. “At once, the situation turned into chaos. All the residents fled in panic. Women and children were screaming hysterically.”

He said he helped at least five injured people, mostly with burns, to a nearby air force hospital.

Six of the people aboard the plane died instantly, and the co-pilot died later while being treated at a hospital, air force spokesman Rear Adm. Azman Yunus said.

The plane broke into two parts as it ripped through the houses and plummeted to the ground. The three people killed on the ground were two children in one of the houses, aged 2 and 6, and a woman who worked as their caretaker, air force spokesman Col. Agus Sasongko Jati said.

An official at the air force hospital said more than 10 people, including some children, were being treated for injuries.

The aircraft, which was built in 1958 and has been used by Indonesia’s air force for the past 20 years, was declared airworthy before it took off and skies were clear, said Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul.

Rescuers were still searching for more possible victims among the charred rubble of the burning houses, and a number of ambulances were parked inside the air force’s Rajawali Complex.

The crash comes after a Russian Sukhoi passenger jet crashed last month into an Indonesian volcano during a demonstration flight for potential buyers, killing all 45 people aboard.

(Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini contributed to this report from Jakarta.)

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