- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2009

BANDUNG, INDONESIA (AP) - An Indonesian military plane with 24 people aboard crashed into an airport hangar in rainy weather and burst into flames Monday, an air force spokesman said. Everyone on board was feared dead.

Dr. M. Drajat told El Shinta radio 17 bodies had arrived at the morgue of a nearby hospital from the crash site and that others were believed to be on the way.

It was unclear if anyone on the ground was hurt. Firetrucks and ambulances rushed to the scene.

Emergency workers could be see carrying charred aircraft parts from the smoking building.

Most of those on the Fokker 27 were special forces trainees on a parachuting exercise, air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo.

It was not clear what caused the accident in rainy weather outside the city of Bandung.

Witnesses told the Antara state news agency the aircraft appeared to be shaking before diving to the ground.

“There was a thundering sound and the plane blew apart,” said Budi Wuraskito, director of operations at the airport in the city of Bandung.

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

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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