UPDATED 1 July 2015 | An Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules has crashed today, 30 June, into a residential area in the city of Medan on the island of Sumatra shortly after take-off from the city’s Polonia airport.
Official sources later indicated the plane had 122 people on board and all perished, along with 20 people on the ground. Images show a burning two or three story building and remnants of the plane wreckage, including part of the centre-wing section and the tail. Adjacent and surrounding buildings are severely damaged. One of the buildings struck is reportedly an hotel.
Eye-witnesses say to local media that the plane was “off-balance” as soon as it lifted from the airfield. This may indicate there was a problem with the balance of its military cargo load or with engine power. Some sources say the plane’s commanding officer requested return to Polonia shortly after it lifted from the runway.
The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara; TNI-AU) has seven older C-130s on strength, plus two KC-130B tanker/transport aircraft. Moreover, the TNI-AU is receiving nine former Royal Australian Air Force C-130H Hercules, which will put the total projected strength at 19 aircraft before today’s crash. The plane that went down today is thought to be an original TNI-AU example.
Hercules of the TNI-AU fly are all based on the island of Java. C-130Hs and a militarized edition of the civilian L100 version of the Herc fly with Skadron Udara (Air Squadron) 17 – tasked with VIP flights – and with Skadron Udara 31 out of Halim Perdanakusuma Airport of Jakarta. More C-130Hs, older C-130Bs and the two KC-130 tankers are flown by crews of Skadron Udara 32 Abdulrachman Saleh Airbase in Malang.
On the island of Sumatra, where the plane crashed, the Indonesian military is beefing up its defences – including the positioning of more F-16 fighter jets at the island’s sole fully operational military airbase of Roesmin Nurjadin in Pekanbaru 287 miles (462 km) southeast of the Medan crash site.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Indonesian Air Force C-130H Hercules at Denpasar / Bali – Ngurah Rai IAP on 24 August 2012 (Image (CC) Andrew Thomas)