13 dead in Indonesian army helicopter crash: military

JAKARTA - An Indonesian army helicopter carrying construction workers to build a military outpost crashed in the jungles of Borneo Saturday as it came in to land, injuring nine people, an official said.

Update 6.06pm: Thirteen people were killed Saturday when an Indonesian army helicopter carrying construction workers crashed in the jungles of Borneo as it came in to land, an official said.

“Thirteen people died in the crash while the rest suffered burn injuries,” military spokesman Iskandar Sitompul told AFP. 

There were 21 people on board at the time of the crash, he added.

Earlier reports said nine people had been injured.

Update 4.16pm: There were no immediate reports of fatalities after the aircraft carrying eight crew, 13 construction workers, and materials weighing 500 kilogrammes (1,100 pounds) went down in the Indonesian part of Borneo.

"There was engine trouble and the helicopter lost power," military spokesman Iskandar Sitompul told AFP.

"It fell with a thump this morning and a fire started." He said seven construction workers, all civilians, and two crew members suffered burn injuries when the Russian-made, Mi-17 aircraft crashed.

Information was still trickling in from the remote location of the accident, he said.

The military was transporting the workers and materials to Malinau district, North Kalimantan province, to build a new military outpost by the border with Malaysia, he added.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, relies heavily on air transport but has one of Asia's worst aviation safety records.

In April, a plane carrying more than 100 passengers missed the runway as it came in to land on the resort island of Bali, and split in two as it smashed into the sea.

Dozens were injured but there were no fatalities.