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Last updated at 15:04 BST, Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Many die in Indonesian air crash


20 May 2009

At least 97 people have died in a military plane crash on the island of Java. The Hercules transport plane which was carrying troops and their families was flying from the capital Jakarta to the town of Madium when it crashed.

Lucy Williamson

Remains of the plane after fatal crash

Remains of the plane after fatal crash


Click to hear the report


Eyewitness reports describe a big explosion before the plane reached the runway. An army spokesman said the plane smashed into local houses before skidding to a halt in a nearby field and bursting into flames.

The aircraft was almost completely destroyed in the crash - the wreckage is strewn across East Java's bright green rice fields; its tail the only piece left intact. Rescue teams have been pulling out the dead and injured from the smoking debris. The plane was carrying military personnel and their families - including 10 children.

It's not clear yet why the plane crashed. The army says weather and landing conditions were good, and that the plane itself was in good condition. But the airforce has long complained that it is underfunded and that it lacks spare parts due to long-running US military sanctions which have recently been lifted.

Lucy Williamson, BBC News, Jakarta


Click to hear the vocabulary


eyewitness reports
descriptions of the plane crash given by people who saw it happen
moved with great force against something hard, usually causing damage or injury
skidding to a halt
sliding along a surface with no control until it stopped
bursting into flames
suddenly burning in a violent and powerful way
badly damaged remains of the plane
scattered or thrown untidily
complete and in its original condition
remains of the plane
not receiving enough money
official orders to stop trade with another country (usually because of a political disagreement)

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