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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 08:09 GMT
Indonesia jet explodes on landing
Rescue workers try to put out the flames of a Boeing 737-400 in Indonesia
An Indonesian jet has crashed and burst into flames on landing at Yogyakarta airport in Java, killing 22 people.

The state-owned Garuda airline, which operated the Boeing 737-400, confirmed that 118 people had survived.

Indonesia's president immediately announced an investigation into the crash in Yogyakarta, 440km (270 miles) south-east of Jakarta.

Indonesia's safety record has been in the spotlight recently after a series of accidents, correspondents say.

'Too fast'

The crash happened at about 0700 local time (0000 GMT).

Survivors say a large number of passengers escaped through emergency doors before the plane burst into flames.

The jet reportedly started shaking violently before landing.

Rescue workers try to put out the flames of a Boeing 737-400 in Indonesia
Some passengers wanted to get their hand luggage. I cried to them, 'get out, get out'
Din Syamsudin, survivor

The operations chief at Yogyakarta airport said the front wheel of the plane was on fire as it landed, causing it to veer off the runway and hit a boundary fence.

He said an engine had then broken away from the plane and the fuselage burst into flames. The aircraft came to rest in the middle of a rice field.

First Air Marshal Benyamin Dandel, air force commander at Yogyakarta, said: "The plane was too fast or over-speeding, so it ran about 300 metres off the runway."

Some survivors said the fire started near the front the plane and spread quickly down the fuselage.

One survivor, Din Syamsudin, who is the chairman of Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, told Reuters: "Some passengers wanted to get their hand luggage. I cried to them, 'get out, get out'.

"The plane was full of smoke. I just jumped from two metres and landed in a rice field."

A number of survivors are being treated in hospital for severe injuries or burns.

The blaze took two hours to put out and gutted the jet.

Conference

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said there were nine Australians on board, four of whom were missing.

Map of Indonesia

They included officials and journalists covering his planned visit to Java for a counter-terrorism conference.

Prime Minister John Howard said the country should be "prepared for bad news" as there could well be Australian fatalities.

But he said he had not received any information suggesting either sabotage or terrorism.

A spokesman for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the Indonesian president was launching an investigation to examine all possible causes, including technical failure, human error and sabotage.

There have been a number of terrorist attacks in Indonesia in recent years, many of them targeting Westerners.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says the incident also comes at a time when Indonesia's poor transport safety record is under the spotlight following a recent string of disasters.

In January an Adam Air plane, also a Boeing 737-400, disappeared with 102 passengers and crew on board, and in December hundreds died when a ferry sank in the Java Sea.


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SEE ALSO
In pictures: Indonesia jet crash
07 Mar 07 |  In Pictures
Indonesia highlights safety need
28 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's public transport perils
18 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Air disasters timeline
02 Jan 07 |  Europe
Indonesia jet debris discovered
11 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Indonesia
23 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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