The death toll from an air crash in the Indonesian city of Medan went up to 141 on Wednesday, with reports saying at least 19 people on the ground were killed when the plane went down.
Authorities said 141 bodies have been recovered after an Indonesian air force transport plane Hercules C-130 crashed into a row of houses and a hotel in Medan city, Sumatra, on Tuesday, AP reported.
The crash occurred two minutes after the plane took off from Soewondo air force base in Medan.
The country’s air force chief Marshall Agus Supriatna said there were no survivors. Among the victims were military personnel and their families.
Supriatna has said the pilot told the control tower that he needed to turn back because of engine trouble and the plane crashed while turning right to return to the airport.
The air force repeatedly raised its figures for the number of the people on the plane, indicating lax controls and raising questions about whether it was accepting paying passengers despite previous promises to crack down on the promise. Hitching rides on military planes to reach remote destinations is common in Indonesia,
Buildings were left in ruins and cars reduced to flaming wrecks after the plane came down in Medan, a city of two million.
‘Too old to fly’
Meanwhile, Jakarta Post quoting kompas.com said the government admitted that the Hercules C-130 aircraft was too old to fly.
“It was an old aircraft, already 50 years, but it was about to undergo a retrofit. In all, we now have 20 Hercules airplanes,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Tuesday.
According to Kalla, the Indonesian Military (TNI) started buying aircraft in the 1950s, and in the 1960s, the Hercules airplanes started entering Indonesia.
With regard to compensation for the victims of the crash, Kalla said that military airplanes are not equipped with insurance.