[Update] Indonesian search and rescue teams have recovered 86 bodies from the burning wreckage of Hercules C-130 plane that went down into a populated residential area on Tuesday, June 30, in what may be the deadliest accident yet for an air force with a long history of crashes. At least 116 people are now feared d**d including the 101 passengers and 12 crew members.
Three more people on the ground were among the fatalities in the freak accident when the Indonesian Air Force plane smashed into a busy neighborhood in Medan; the capital of the Indonesian island-province of Sumatra shortly after taking off from Soewando Air Force Base towards Tanjung Pinang, Riau Island around 12:08 pm local time Tuesday.
The ill-fated aircraft, piloted by one Capt. Andy, declared an emergency minutes into the flight and requested to return to base before losing altitude and nosedived into a busy housing village; hitting hotels and several houses and vehicles before bursting into a huge fireball.
It was not immediately known what caused the plane to go down, but the pilot reportedly complained of technical trouble before requesting for an emergency landing.
There were reportedly no survivors among the 113 people onboard who were mostly soldiers and family members of the military. The C-130 was on a routine logistics operation, reports say. It is the third military aircraft to crash since 2001.
“No, no. No survivors,” Air marshal Agus Supriatna told a local news channel. “I just returned from the site.”
Initially recovered from the crash site were bodies of 39 men and 29 women. Most of the bodies were taken by ambulance to Adam Malik Hospital.
Authorities fear that the d***h toll may still possibly rise as rescuers were seen rummaging through the wreck.
Medan police chief Mardiaz Dwihananto has confirmed they are still unable to recover all the bodies inside the plane.
Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed grief and sorrow over the recent tragedy through social media.
“May the families be given patience and strength. May we remain protected from disaster,” Widodo tweeted in Bahasa on Tuesday.