18 feared dead in Indonesia plane crash

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The Independent Online

Eighteen people were feared dead today after the plane they were travelling in crashed into a mountainous area in western Indonesia.

Search-and-rescue teams were on their way to the scene.



The Spanish-built CASA C-212 was about halfway through its 30-minute flight between North Sumatra and Aceh provinces when it lost contact with air traffic control, Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said. Four children and 14 adults were on board.



Minutes later the pilot sent out a distress signal and the plane dropped off the air force radar, Bonar Hutagaol, an air force marshal, told local station TVOne.



Residents reported that it had crashed in their mountainous village of Bahorok, and rescuers had spotted the wreckage, Mr Bambang said.



"I saw something unusual, a smoking plane circling very low before it disappeared from my view," Agus, a villager in Langkat district, told TV-One. Like many Indonesians he goes by only one name.



Indonesia, a sprawling archipelagic nation of 240 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents in recent years, from plane and train crashes to ferry sinkings. Many are blamed on overcrowding and poor safety standards.

AP

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