Relatives of plane crash in Medan mourn as death toll reaches 116

Relatives of plane crash in Medan mourn as death toll reaches 116
Family members cry outside Adam Malik hospital as they wait for the bodies of victims of the Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane that crashed in the North Sumatra city of Medan.
PHOTO: Reuters

Hundreds of relatives of victims of the Air Force's C-130 Hercules crash attended Adam Malik General Hospital in Medan to collect the bodies of their loved ones on Tuesday night as the death toll reached 116.

Relatives of a brother and sister who were passengers on the crashed plane, could not hold back their tears following the news that everyone on board had died.

Muti Boru Tinambunan said that her niece, Reni Boru Sihotang, a third-grade high school student, was traveling with her brother for a holiday in Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

Muti waited for the bodies of her niece and nephew at the hospital's mortuary.

Brother of another victim, Ika Purwanti, was shocked upon hearing about the tragedy.

"I accompanied her [to Polonia airport], but now she comes like this," said the man who declined to reveal his name.

Adam Malik hospital staff member, Sormin, said that 75 bodies had been sent to the hospital as of 9:00 p.m. local time, but he could not say when the families could collect them.

The Hercules transport aircraft crashed into a residential area on Jl. Jamin Ginting, shortly after taking off from Soewondo Air Force Base (previously known as Polonia International Airport) in Medan en route to Riau on Tuesday afternoon, killing all 113 people on board. The aircraft was reported to have been carrying supplies.

Air force chief Marshal Agus Supriatna said the manifest showed there were 113 people on board the plane -- 12 crew and 101 passengers -- when it crashed, and he did not believe anyone had survived.

"No, no. No survivors, I have just returned from the site," he told AFP in answer to a question.

Many passengers were likely to be family members of servicemen and women, said a spokesman for the airbase from where the plane had departed.

The local search and rescue agency also said that at least three people were killed on the ground when the 51-year-old plane went down near a newly built residential area, hitting a massage parlour and a small hotel.

Police said rescuers were still trying to get into the ruined massage parlour, a three-storey building, and they did not know whether there were people inside.

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