JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian air force plane slammed into homes and ignited a fireball in the crowded capital while trying to land Thursday, killing at least nine people, a military official said.
The turboprop plane crashed into eight houses, killing at least three people on the ground, said military spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul. Raging orange flames were seen jumping several feet into the air as a huge column of black smoke billowed.
Hendra, a resident in the air force housing complex in eastern Jakarta who uses only one name, said he ran out of his house after hearing several loud explosions and saw flames engulfing neighbors' homes.
"I could hardly believe my eyes ... there was a military plane that crashed and hit the houses!" he said. "At once, the situation turned into chaos. All the residents fled in panic. Women and children were screaming hysterically."
He said he helped at least five injured people, mostly with burns, to a nearby Air Force hospital. He added that he saw at least three more critically injured children brought into the hospital.
Sitompul said the Fokker F-27 was on a routine training flight when it crashed. The aircraft was declared airworthy before the training and skies were clear, he added.
Air Force spokesman Rear Adm. Azman Yunus said there were seven people aboard the plane including the pilot, co-pilot, instructor and trainees.
All the seven were rushed to the Air Force hospital, Yunus said. Later, he told Detik.com news portal that six of them were killed while one was still being treated at the hospital.
He said the Fokker F-27 was on a routine training flight when it crashed while trying to landing after the 90-minute flight.
Private El Shinta radio reported rescuers were still searching for more possible victims among the rubble of the burning houses.
A number of ambulances were parked inside the Air Force's Rawajali Complex.
The plane was build in 1958 and used by Indonesia's Air Force for the past 20 years.