The Indonesian military's Hercules C-130 that crashed on Tuesday in Medan killing 122 people on-board might have been on an unofficial low cost flight.
According to AFP reports, relatives of some civilians claimed to have paid a flight charge of anywhere between 700,000 rupiah (US $52.5) and one million rupiah (US $75) surfaced. A normal flight from Jakarta to Medan would cost around US $300 (4 million rupiah).
Military family members, however, are allowed to board air force flights free of charge with special permission. Earlier Tuesday, Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna had said in a televised interview that 101 of the people on the C-130 Hercules were family members of military personnel, and that 12 military personnel were also aboard. Another senior officer said later that a total of 122 people were on the plane. A
Hercules C-130 transporter has a capacity of about 92 passengers.
Earlier, air force officers gave various figures as to the number of people on board. Figures such as as 5 to 20 to 37 to 122 were given in the hours following the crash raising questions of overloading the aircraft and also a possibility of paid passengers on the military aircraft.
Local media reported that It is common practice tfor local people to hitch rides on military aircraft in this nation of far-flung island. However what is not clear is whether these rides are to be paid for or they are free.
The military plane likely suffered an engine failure, Air Vice Marshal Agus Dwi Putranto, an air force operations commander said today but denied that the aircraft was overloaded after claims civilians had paid to get on board.
He said, “the plane had failed to gain enough speed after one of its engines malfunctioned.”
“It’s unlikely an overcapacity problem,” the commander said. He said that the Hercules can carry 12.5 tonnes but the passengers on the flight would have only weighed about eight tonnes.