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Last Updated: Monday, 5 September 2005, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Indonesia jet crashes on take-off

An Indonesian passenger jet has crashed after take-off from the Sumatran city of Medan, killing at least 104 people on board and 39 on the ground.

The Boeing 737-200, run by low-cost airline Mandala, crashed onto a busy road in the Padang Bulan residential area near the city's airport.

Fire engulfed the wreckage and local TV showed images of dozens of homes and cars destroyed by the impact.

Airline and rescue officials said that at least 13 of those on board survived.

One survivor, passenger Freddy Ismail, spoke to Indonesian radio from his hospital bed.

"I could not believe it. After taking off, the plane really shook and then suddenly it plummeted to a main road on top of the cars below," he told El-Shinta.

Another passenger, Rohadi Sitepu, said all the survivors were seated in the back row of seats when an apparent explosion ripped through the front of the plane. One of them was an 18-month-old boy.

After taking off, the plane really shook and then suddenly plummeted to a main road
Freddy Ismail
Crash survivor

Mr Sitepu said he escaped the wreckage by fleeing as powerful explosions erupted behind him.

Emergency crews of paramedics, police and firefighters struggled to reach the wreckage because of raging fires.

One local reporter told Reuters news agency: "Around 10 houses were burned, along with five to six minibuses. The plane was torn into pieces, we could only see the tail."


Indonesia's Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa called the crash "a great tragedy".

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered an inquiry into the crash, which happened in overcast conditions.

The acting director of Mandala Airlines, Asril Tanjung, said investigations were focusing on "take-off failure", but could not say if human error, engine failure or weather problems were to blame.

The Governor of North Sumatra province, Rizal Nurdin, was on board the plane, which was heading to the country's capital, Jakarta.

Former North Sumatra Governor Raja Inal Siregar was also reported to be on board the flight.

Mandala is largely owned by Indonesia's military, and has been forced to cut costs in recent years to stave off losses.

The plane entered service in 1981, but was not due to be retired until 2016, and received a full service in June this year.

Indonesia's worst air disaster, in 1997, also happened in Sumatra, when an Airbus crashed into mountains near Medan, killing all 234 people on board.

Sumatra also bore the brunt of last year's Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed 160,000 people there and left 800,000 more homeless.


Jakarta Post Crash victims angry at govt's slow response - 2 hrs ago
SABC Death toll in Indonesian plane crash hits 143 - 6 hrs ago
Jamaica Observer Indonesian plane crash kills 147 - 10 hrs ago
Buffalo News Indonesia airliner crashes on takeoff; 147 dead - 12 hrs ago
ABCNEWS.com Clues Sought in Indonesia Jetliner Crash - 14 hrs ago
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