- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

BANDUNG, INDONESIA (AP) - An Indonesian military plane carrying 24 people crashed into an airport hangar during heavy rains Monday and burst into flames, killing everyone on board, an air force spokesman said.

Fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene, pulling bodies from the debris. Emergency workers carried charred parts of the downed Fokker 27 from the smoking building.

Air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo said none of the 24 aboard the aging turboprop _ which was filled with trainees returning from a parachuting exercise _ survived. There were no casualties on the ground, he added.

It was not clear what caused the crash, which occurred as the pilot was trying to land during a heavy storm just outside the city of Bandung. Witnesses told the state news agency Antara that the plane appeared to be shaking before diving to the ground.

“There was a thundering sound,” said Budi Wuraskito, director of operations at the airport. “The plane blew apart inside the hangar, which had several airplanes and helicopters inside.”

Sulistyo said six crew, an instructor and 17 special forces trainees were on the 32-year-old aircraft.

The country’s air force has long complained of being underfunded and handicapped by a recently lifted U.S. ban on weapons sales. It has suffered a series of accidents, including a Casa 212 plane that crashed during an aerial surveillance mission last year that killed 18 people.

A series of commercial airline crashes in recent years has killed more than 120 people in Indonesia.

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