Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A military transport plane crashed into an airport hangar in Bandung Airport while trying to land in heavy rain on Monday, killing all 24 personnel

JAKARTA, April 6 (Bernama) - The 18 Indonesian Air Force commandos killed in the Fokker 27 crash in Bandung at noon Monday were undergoing an orientation course that includes parachute jump training by instructors.The turboprop aircraft was making a landing after a regular training flight when the mishap occurred at around 1:05 pm local time (1135 IST) in Bandung, 110 kilometres southeast of Jakarta, an Indonesian air force spokesman said.

Bambang said the aging turboprop plane, manufactured in 1976, took off from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusumah Airport with the Air Force trainees and crashed at about 12:30 p.m. on Monday. "Most of those on board were undertaking parachute training," he said, adding that an investigation was under way.The passengers consisted of 18 Air Forces' special troops and 7 plane crews. They were about to fly for a routine parachute training.

All the passengers onboard the ill fatted Fokker 27 plane were killed, Detik.com quoted an official statement issued by Air Forces' special forces spokesperson Lieut.Indonesian news agency Antara reported that the Indonesian Air Force Fokker 27 which slammed into the hangar also fell onto six aircraft and two helicopters under maintenance.Yanto said. "It is true that a Fokker 27 of the Indonesian Air Force has crashed at the airport," he said.

Mujiono, an eyewitness and employee of a subsidiary of PT DI said that the accident took place about 10 minutes after heavy rain. At that time, he was standing in a hangar at the eastern tip of the runway, about 200 meters of the ACS building. "A huge fire ball licked into the air," At least 17 paratroop trainees of the Indonesian Air Force lost their lives the mishap.Earlier, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Nairiza said the plane was carrying 18 officers and seven crew members. He said it was flying from Jakarta. "All of them were killed in the accident," detik.com quoted Nairiza as saying.The country's air force has long complained of being underfunded and handicapped by a recently lifted U.S. ban on weapons sales. It has suffered a series of accidents, including a Casa 212 plane that crashed during an aerial surveillance mission last year that killed 18 people.

The military personnel were on a parachute training exercise, air force officials said, adding that poor visibility because of a rainstorm likely caused the accident.

The crash happened about 1 p.m. Monday local time in the city of Bandung, according to air force First Marshal Bambang Sulistyo. Rescue crews could not recover bodies because of the fire, he said.[27] Bambang Sulistio, an air force spokesman, said an investigation was under way, but that it was too early to discuss the possible causes of the crash. "Before we fly there are procedures and checks to make sure the plane is in good condition," he said.[19] Air force spokesman Bambang Sulistio earlier said no one could have survived the crash.[10] Air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo said the cause of the crash was unknown.[7]

None of the 24 on board survived, said air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo. There were no casualties on the ground, he added.

The 18 commandos killed were scheduled to jump on Wednesday under the guidance of instructors, a spokesman for the Indonesian Air Force Commando Unit was quoted by the website detikbandung. He said the instructors did not rejoin the group after jumping.Col. Nayriza, the air force spokesman, said Monday the crew's fate was unknown.

We are still forming a team to find out the cause of the accident," Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandriyo said here on Monday.

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