In a horrifying and tragic event, an Indonesian plane crash in the country’s Sumatra Island has killed over 100 people.
According to the Guardian, the Indonesia plane crash occurred when a military transport aircraft smashed into a number of buildings moments after takeoff. The plane was engulfed in flames almost immediately upon impact. The plane was carrying 113 people including the crew, military officers, and family members.
The BBC has placed the death toll at 122 as of 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
According to Reuters, the Indonesian plane crashed into a hotel and nearby homes in Indonesia’s fourth largest city, Medan, while it was heading to the Riau Islands from an air force base in Medan.
“It passed overhead a few times, really low,” Reuters quoted a receptionist of a nearby hotel saying. “There was fire and black smoke. The third time it came by it crashed into the roof of the hotel and exploded straight away.”
Apparently, technical issues on the Indonesian plane forced it to return a number of times before its fateful crash. The BBC mentioned that, although the Hercules transport plane was over half-a-decade old, the Indonesian military claims it was “in good condition.”
Yet, Indonesia has a poor record when it comes to safety regulations regarding air travel. The Aviation Safety Network listed 18 fatal aircraft-related occurrences just over the past six years.
Many hope, however, that the tragic Indonesia plane crash may compel the Indonesian government to perform an overhaul of its decades-old air force fleet.
Indonesian lawmakers are already pressuring the government to spend more money to modernize the military’s aircraft. In an interview with Reuters, Indonesian parliament member Pramono Anung said the parliament is ready to support extra funding for military upgrades.
“The Hercules is already old, many of our other (weapons) systems are already old. As parliament, we will support giving more funding to the military so that they can upgrade,” he said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has agreed that an evaluation of the air force’s fleet is required. According to a Daily Mail news wire, Widodo stated that the current priority is to evacuate the victims from the crashed plane and then to evaluate the condition of the planes and weapons systems.
“The evacuation of victims from the Hercules plane must be prioritised. Then there must be an evaluation of the age of planes and defence systems,” President Widodo tweeted, according to a translation by the Daily Mail‘s wire. “Hopefully, we can stay away from disasters.”
World leaders and politicians took to Twitter to express their sorrow over the Indonesia plane crash.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper conveyed his country’s “deepest condolences to the families of the victims” of the Indonesia plane crash.
Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Nicholson said he was “deeply saddened by the news” of the Indonesia plane crash.
Indian Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi also tweeted his reaction to the tragic Indonesia plane crash.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Indonesia plane crash as “deeply unfortunate.”
The official Twitter page of Russian President Vladimir Putin tweeted his condolences to the Indonesian president on the fatal Indonesia plane crash.
The U.S. Department of State tweeted a video of its spokesperson John Kirby’s comments on the Indonesia plane crash.
“I also want to offer our heartfelt condolences to the Indonesian people today,” he said.
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic tweeted a link to her official statement on the fateful Indonesia plane crash. In it, she conveyed the European Union’s “deepest condolences to the government of Indonesia and the families of the victims.”
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]