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141 Bodies Recovered in Indonesian Military Plane Crash

  • VOA News

Firemen attempt to extinguish the fire surrounding the wreckage of an Indonesian military transport plane after it crashed in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia, June 30, 2015.

Firemen attempt to extinguish the fire surrounding the wreckage of an Indonesian military transport plane after it crashed in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia, June 30, 2015.

Indonesian authorities say the death toll from a military transport plane crash has spiked to 141, as rescue officials continue searching the wreckage in the residential neighborhood on the island of Sumatra.

Officials say 122 people were on board the Hercules C-130 plane that crashed Tuesday into two houses and a hotel in a newly built neighborhood in Medan, Indonesia's third-largest city. A previous estimate had put that figure at 113.

An Air Force spokesman, Rear Marshal Dwi Badarmanto, said approximately 30 of the dead have been identified as members of the Indonesian Air Force and their families.

The Hercules C-130 was trying to return to the airport after takeoff Tuesday when the crash ocurred.

A military spokesman said the four-engine turboprop aircraft went down minutes after taking off from the nearby airport. Air Force chief Air Marshal Agus Supriatna said the pilot told the control tower that the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble.

"The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport,'' he said. He added that it appears there were no survivors.

It is not clear how many people on the ground were killed or injured by the crash.

Pictures from social media show the downed aircraft in flames, with thick black smoke coming from damaged buildings and destroyed vehicles.

Indonesia's military has suffered several deadly airplane crashes in recent years, including in June 2012, when a jet crashed into a Jakarta housing complex, killing 11 people.

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