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Scores killed in Indonesian military plane crash

No fewer than 113 people died on Tuesday after an Indonesian air force C-130 plane crashed into a building in city of Medan, on the northern island of Sumatra.

Twelve crew members and 101 passengers, comprising military personnel and their relatives, were reportedly on board of the aircraft. No sooner than the plane took off from an air force base in neighbourhood when it lost control, crashed on the buildings and went up in flames.

The plane was said to be heading for Tanjung Pinang in Sumatra.

The military spokesman, Fuad Basya, told Al Jazeera that the plane took off at around midday local time from an air force base carrying military equipment and crashed in the city about two minutes later, about 5 kilometres from the base.

Police chief of Medan city, Mardiaz Dwihananto, said several bodies had been recovered from the wreckage, noting that the evacuation was still on.

“The bodies were in [the] debris of the plane and buildings… We are taking the bodies one by one by ambulance to Adam Malik hospital. We haven’t managed to evacuate all of the bodies,” he said.

Local radio station, El Shinta, said earlier that the aircraft had hit homes, but it was not immediately clear if anyone inside had been killed or injured.

“This was a C-130 military aircraft on a routine trip, carrying soldiers and their families,” she said.

“The pilot radioed in, saying there was an issue with the plane…he tried to turn back and then the plane went down over Medan. The plane went down in a populated area, hitting two empty buildings. That number could have been much higher,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reported.

The Indonesian military has now opened an official investigation to try and figure out what went wrong.

It is the second time in 10 years that a plane has crashed into a Medan neighbourhood.

In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, into a crowded residential community, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

Medan, with about 3.4 million people, is the third most populous city in Indonesia after the capital Jakarta and Surabaya.

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