'Passengers bought cheap tickets, unable to sue': Victims' families

A woman cries beside coffin of husband, who is a victim of the Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane that crashed into a residential area in Medan.
PHOTO: Reuters

The families of victims on the ill-fated Hercules plane revealed on Thursday that they could not sue if anything happened to the plane because they had paid discounted prices for the flight tickets.

Tekti Pakpahan said that two of her family members who died in the plane crash paid Rp 800,000 (S$80) each for the flights, rebuffing a previous official statement that the plane was not for commercial purposes.

"Probably the money was asked because they did not come from an Army officer's family. They took the flight because a friend, who is an Army officer, recommended them," Tetdi said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Thursday.

Previously, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriyatna denied that Air Force planes were used for commercial purpose and said no civilians were allowed onboard except for Army families.

"If it [the practice] exists, prove it to me, so we can fire them [those responsible]. Nothing is commercialized," he said.

A woman who refused to be named rebuffed Agus' statement, saying that her two sons, who fell victim in the plane crash, indeed paid Rp 800,000 per ticket.

"Then, they made a statement to us, that it is not a ticket, with one of the points saying that if bad things happen, the families can not sue," she said, crying.

Another victim's relative said that they were interested in taking the flights because the prices were lower.

"If they took a commercial flight, it would cost them Rp 1 million per person. It is expensive. That is why they took that flight," said S. Sihombing, whose two nieces - Ester Yosephine Sihombing and Yunita Sihombing - died in the plane crash.