Relatives in shock over Hercules plane crash in Medan

Relatives in shock over Hercules plane crash in Medan
Indonesian Air Force troops unload coffins containing the bodies of victims of the C-130 Hercules aircraft, which crashed in a residential area in Medan.
PHOTO: AFP

Dewi Wulandari could not hold back her tears after learning that a Hercules airplane carrying her husband First Lt. Pandu Setiawan, whom she married two months ago, crashed in Medan on Tuesday afternoon.

"I was at the market just now when I received a call to come home immediately," said Dewi at her house in Patukan hamlet, Ambarketawang village, Gamping district, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, on Tuesday.

When she arrived at home, she was told by relatives that the Hercules plane with flight number A1310, on which her husband was the copilot, had crashed.

"I was shocked when I received the news at home," she said softly.

Dewi said Pandu was an understanding person who loved his family very much.

"He was considerate, very affectionate and jovial," she was quoted by tribunnews.com as saying.

Dewi's father Haryoto said his daughter had last contacted her husband on Tuesday morning.

According to Haryoto, Pandu and Dewi often communicated with each other over a long distance because Pandu worked at the Malang air base in East Java. Dewi travelled to Malang to meet Pandu once a fortnight.

"Pandu was newly married to my daughter on April 26. After their reception here, he left for work again," said Haryoto, as relatives and neighbours started arriving at the family's home.

The Hercules military plane crashed in a residential area on Jl. Jamin Ginting in Simalingkar, Medan, North Sumatra, hitting two shop-houses and a car, as it carried supplies to a number of Indonesian Military (TNI) Air Force bases, including in Jakarta, Pekanbaru, Dumai, Medan, Tanjung Pinang, Ranai and Pontianak.

The plane had been carrying 101 passengers and 12 crew, said Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Agus Supriatna, as quoted by Antara news agency.

Separately, local resident Rani wept hysterically as she attempted to find her family members after the plane crashed.

Rani tried to enter the crash site but was barred by the TNI and the police's Sabhara rapid response unit personnel.

"There are two people there, my mother and aunt," said Rani, as she was consoled by her relatives.

As well as Rani, other residents were also in tears as they realised a number of shop-houses at the location were destroyed.

Residents were still at the wreckage site as this report went to press.

The Adam Malik General Hospital in Medan had reportedly received 75 bodies retrieved from the plane's wreckage as of Tuesday at 9 p.m.

The remains of the victims were said to be badly burned and were still being identified by workers at the hospital, so the exact number of victims, including civilians, remains unclear.

Hundreds of relatives of the victims flocked to the hospital's morgue on Tuesday evening.

Among the mourners was Muti Tinambunan, who heard that her nephews Ruli Sihotang, 24, and Reni Sihotang, 17, were among the passengers on the plane.

Muti said Ruli and Reni were on the plane to visit their brother Andi Sihotang, an Air Force officer in Pontianak.

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