Indonesia says air force transport plane crashes in Medan neighborhood, at least 5 killed

An Indonesian air force Hercules C-130 plane with 12 crew aboard crashed Tuesday into a residential neighborhood in the country's third-largest city Medan. A hospital official said at least five people were killed.

Indonesian television broadcast images from the city of a downed aircraft in flames, crumpled vehicles and a partially destroyed building.

Adam Malik hospital spokeswoman Sairi M. Saragih said the hospital had received five bodies so far.

It was unclear how many people were aboard the plane. Air force operations commander Agus Dwi Putranto said on local television there were 12 crew members.

The crash of the Hercules occurred not long before midday and just minutes after the transport plane took off from Soewondo air force base.

Air force chief, Air Marshal Agus Priatna, told MetroTV that the plane, in service since 1964, might have suffered a technical problem. He said the pilot had asked to return to Soewondo, but the plane then turned right and crashed two minutes after take-off, hitting a building.

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