32 military, 58 civilian victims of crashed Hercules identified

32 military, 58 civilian victims of crashed Hercules identified
Indonesian soldiers and search and rescue teams remove debris from the crash site of a military C-130 transport plane which went down yesterday in a residential area of Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, July 1, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

Ninety-six victims of the crashed military aircraft in Medan, North Sumatra, have been identified as of Thursday, police have said.

"They are 32 Air Force members, six army officers and 58 civilians. Ninety-two of them have been transported to their families," North Sumatra Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Helfi Assegaf said.

The identified victims include eight staff of the BS Oukup spa parlour, which was hit by the transport plane on Tuesday. The eight have been identified as Melinda Sari Pasaribu, Arni Walidah Togatorap, Dame Marlina, Hari Tiga Padang, Anas, Siti Sara Saragih, Dewi and Rizaldi.

The search for bodies has largely been called off, with just a handful of soldiers and police left sifting through the rubble on Thursday, down from a search and rescue team of several hundred.

The Hercules C-130, which went down on Jl. Jamin Ginting shortly after taking off from the nearby Soewondo Air Force Base, probably suffered engine failure, the air force said Thursday, but denied the aircraft was overloaded after claims civilians had paid to get on board.

Air Force Operations Command Air Vice Marshal Agus Dwi Putranto told reporters initial findings indicated the 51-year-old plane had failed to gain enough speed after one of its four engines malfunctioned.

Agus denied the plane was overloaded after the air force repeatedly revised upward the number of people on the flight, sparking accusations paying civilians were on board, in violation of military rules.

"It's probably not an overcapacity problem," the commander said. The aircraft, he claimed, could carry 12.5 tons, but the passengers on the flight would have only weighed about 8 tons.

There were 122 people on the plane, mostly servicemen and women and their families, with the rest of the fatalities thought to have occurred on the ground.

Relatives of some civilians from non-military families have said the passengers paid between Rp 700,000 (S$67) and Rp 1 million to travel on the aircraft. The military has denied taking payments and vowed to investigate.

Janson Halomoan Sinaga, who lost five relatives who had been heading to the remote Natuna islands, told AFP that his relatives had all paid, adding they were "not a military family".

 

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