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Indonesian air force plane crashes into homes

Indonesian air force plane crashes into homes

Thu June 21, 2012 8:03pm

BUILDINGS remain on fire after air force jet crashes into residential area with six of the seven crew members on board dead.

The ageing turboprop Fokker 27 split in two as it smashed into the military airport compound while on routine training, igniting a blaze that ripped through homes and sent thick smoke into the sky.

An AFP correspondent saw dozens of firefighters battling the blaze at the Halim Perdanakusuma compound, and what appeared to be the plane's wing sticking out from the roof of a house.

"All seven crew and three people on the ground were killed," air force spokesman Colonel Agung Sasongko Jati told reporters. "The plane has split into two."

The three who died on the ground were two cousins, aged two and six, and an elderly woman, Jati told AFP, adding the six-year-old's mother was in critical condition. There were no immediate reports of other victims.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago, relies heavily on air transport but has one of the world's poorest aviation safety records, and military plane crashes are relatively common.

In early May, a Russian Sukhoi jet crashed into a dormant volcano in Java when it was on a promotional demonstration, killing all 45 aboard.

Today's crash happened at 2.45 pm (5.45pm AEST), after the plane took off from Halim at around 1.10 pm.

Mukhlis, 42, was at home in the complex and said she heard the plane flying low seconds before it crashed 700 metres from her home.

"A few seconds after I heard the plane flying low, I heard a loud boom. I quickly ran outside and saw a column of smoke and flames in the distance behind my house where it crashed," said Mukhlis, who like many Indonesians only goes by one name.

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