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2015 Sumatra Indonesian Air Force C-130 crash

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On 30 June 2015, a Lockheed KC-130B Hercules belonging to the Indonesian Air Force with 12 crew and 110 passengers on board, crashed near a residential neighborhood shortly after taking off from Medan, Indonesia, en route to Tanjung Pinang. All aboard were killed, along with 17 people on the ground.[1][2][3][4]

2015 Indonesian Air Force C-130 crash
TNI-AU Lockheed KC-130B Hercules (L-282) at Medan Polonia Airport.jpg
A-1310, the aircraft involved in the crash, in 2005
Date30 June 2015 (2015-06-30)
SummaryEngine failure on take-off
SiteMedan, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Coordinates: 3°31′31″N 98°37′50″E / 3.52528°N 98.63056°E / 3.52528; 98.63056
Total fatalities139
Total injuries3
Aircraft typeLockheed C-130B Hercules
OperatorIndonesian Air Force
Flight originSoewondo Air Force Base, Medan, Indonesia
DestinationRaja Haji Fisabilillah Airport, Tanjung Pinang, Indonesia
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities17
Ground injuries3

At the time of the crash, the aircraft was transporting military personnel and their families, and possibly some paying civilian passengers (a practice that is in violation of government regulations but is often tolerated).[5][6][7]

Shortly after the crash, the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force grounded their entire C-130 fleet for inspection at Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport, from which the aircraft involved originated.[8]



The plane took off at 12:08 p.m. (0508 GMT) from Soewondo Air Force Base, after refuelling and taking on passengers. It crashed near Djamin Ginting Road in Medan about two minutes later. The crash site was approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the base. According to Indonesian Chief of Staff of the Air Force Marshal Agus Supriana, before crashing, the pilot had requested permission to return to base.[9]

According to eyewitnesses and Indonesian media, after the pilot indicated the aircraft would return to base, it drastically rolled to the right. An eyewitness reported that after the aircraft rolled, it then clipped a radio tower belonging to Joy FM, dove and then exploded.[10] After it dove, multiple explosions were heard from as far as 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) away. The aircraft became inverted, and the nose clipped the Golden Eleven Hotel.[11] It then struck three other buildings, one of which was a crowded massage parlor, at a nearly perpendicular angle. It finally exploded in what onlookers described as "a hell-like scene", with bodies ejected onto the street.[12]

It was the deadliest C-130 Hercules crash in Indonesian history, surpassing the 1991 Hercules crash in East Jakarta, the third-deadliest air disaster in the province of North Sumatra, after Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 and Mandala Airlines Flight 091, and the second air disaster in Indonesia within six months, after Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 in December 2014.[13] The crash occurred only 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away from the 2005 Mandala Airlines crash, in a residential area in Medan, and also occurred minutes after takeoff. Both happened on the Djamin Ginting Road.[14][15]

Passengers and crewEdit

The aircraft was transporting military personnel and their families for duty rotations.[16] The passengers included those who boarded the aircraft from Malang, Jakarta and Pekanbaru; the aircraft was scheduled to continue to Tanjung Pinang, Natuna, and Pontianak before returning to Malang.[17][18] Such flights are common in Indonesia, and it is common for families to be transported together in military aircraft.[9]

There were 110 passengers and 12 crew members on board. At least 7 people on the ground were reported missing and feared dead.[16][18]

The son of the former Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a young army officer and acquaintance of the pilot, claimed that the captain of the aircraft, Sandy Permana, was very experienced and "one of the best pilots in the Indonesian Air Force".[19][20]

Identification of the victims started on 1 July 2015. The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) stated that around 100 bodies were found in the crash site, along with 60 body parts.[21] The bodies were transported to Adam Malik Hospital in Medan for identification.[22] By 4 July, at least 119 bodies had been identified and returned to their families.

Crash siteEdit

Crash site
Crash site shown on a map of Sumatra

The crash took place in a crowded residential neighborhood in Medan, Indonesia's third-largest city. The aircraft took off from Soewondo Air Force Base, formerly Polonia airport. Polonia had been the city's main commercial airport until it was replaced by Kualanamu International Airport in 2013,[23] partly due to concerns arising from its proximity to urban areas (2 km from the city center). Soewondo now serves as the headquarters of the Air Force's Western Surveillance Wing.[23]

Moments after the crash, onlookers began searching through the wreckage for survivors. Thousands of local residents attempted to approach the site. Crowds attempted to bring hoses to the site while soldiers also aided in the search. At least four people survived the initial impact and were later admitted to the nearest hospital for serious burn injuries. These were later confirmed as "survivors on the ground", not passengers or crew. All 122 people on board died in the accident.[24]


Because the aircraft was not fitted with a flight recorder, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee primarily relied on the wreckage pattern and the pilot's flight history for the investigation.[25][26] On 1 July 2015, all of the ammunition and two engines from the aircraft were successfully removed from the crash site.[27]

The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) said that they would pay the insurance claims, which totaled Rp 2.25 trillion (roughly US$170 million). The investigation was expected to be completed in two weeks. The preliminary report was not made public.[28]

The aircraft was one of ten C-130Bs given to Indonesia by the United States in exchange for an imprisoned CIA pilot, captured during Sulawesi rebellion 1957–1961. The aircraft suffered from a shortage of spare parts after the US enacted an embargo (9 September 1999 – 22 November 2005)[29] on Indonesia over their part in the 1999 East Timorese crisis.[30] In view of the aircraft's age, the crash sparked public outcry over the state of the Indonesian Air Force Hercules fleet. However, Indonesian officials denied that the aircraft's age was a factor in the crash, and insisted it was in "good condition".[31]

On 3 July 2015, it was reported that the number four engine propeller had malfunctioned before the aircraft hit the tower, indicating a mechanical failure. All four of the aircraft's engines have been recovered from the crash site as part of the investigation.[32]

Roughly 90% of witnesses reported that the aircraft struck a cellphone tower before it crashed. The tower itself was found to be illegal, according to an Indonesian official. As a result, the Indonesian People's Representative Council advised that "illegal towers" anywhere in Indonesia had to be removed, as they were "ugly" to the scenery and "dangerous" for safety. President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla agreed to the need to retire old aircraft in the Indonesian Air Force's fleet, to prevent a similar tragedy.[33][34]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Indonesia plane crash death toll almost doubles". CBS News. Associated Press. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ Harro Ranter (30 June 2015). "ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed C-130B Hercules A-1310 Medan-Soewondo Air Force Base (MES)". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Correction: Air Force Said There Were 122 Fatalities" (in Indonesian). KOMPAS.
  4. ^ "National Air Force Has Clarified That The Total Fatalities Were 122" (in Indonesian). lintaspost. Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  5. ^ Alice Budisatrijo (1 July 2015), Spotlight on Indonesia military's 'airline', BBC News
  6. ^ Niniek Karmini (1 July 2015), Indonesia C-130 Crash Death Toll at 141 as Search Effort Ends, Associated Press
  7. ^ Joe Cochrane (2 July 2015), Indonesia Plane Crash Caused by Engine Failure, Air Force Chief Says, The New York Times
  8. ^ "Seluruh Pesawat Hercules di Skadron 32 Dilarang Terbang". liputan6. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Death Toll Rises to 142 After Indonesian Military Plane Crashes Into City". The New York Times. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Saksi Mata: Hercules Meledak di Atas Hotel Golden Eleven, Jatuh di Seberangnya". Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  11. ^ "At least 141 people killed in military Hercules transport plane crash". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Hercules Jatuh Terdengar 5 Kali Ledakan Dari Jarak 1 km". detiknews. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  13. ^ "8 Insiden Kecelakaan Hercules di Indonesia". KOMPAS. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Hercules Jatuh Tak Jauh dari Lokasi Kecelakaan Maut Mandala 2005". liputan6. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  15. ^ Richard Lloyd Parry (6 September 2005). "At least 149 die when jet crashes into city moments after take-off". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.
  16. ^ a b "Crashed Hercules bringing 50 personnel for duty officer rotation". The Jakarta Post. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  17. ^ bal. "Ini 121 Nama Penumpang Pesawat Hercules yang Jatuh di Medan". detiknews. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Korban Hercules Jatuh Malam ini Bertambah Jadi 80 Orang". Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  19. ^ "SBY's Son: Captain Sandy Permana Was One of the Best Pilot The Air Force Has Ever Had" (in Indonesian). liputan6. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Pilot Hercules Jatuh di Medan Siswa Terbaik Sekkau 97". merdeka. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Kantor Kepala Basarnas: Sudah Ada 105 Jenazah dan 6 Potongan Tubuh". KOMPAS. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Membusuk, Jenazah Korban Hercules Dimasukkan Lemari Pendingin". republika. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Polonia to host surveillance wing". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Fakhri Terpental dari Lantai Empat Saat Hercules C-130 Tabrak Ruko". KOMPAS. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  25. ^ "Pesawat Hercules C-130 Tidak Dilengkapi Black Box". detiknews. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  26. ^ "Pesawat Hercules Yang Jatuh Di Medan MEMANG TIDAK Punya Black Box". KOMPAS. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  27. ^ "Basarnas Temukan 135 Jenazah Utuh dan 6 Potongan Tubuh Korban Pesawat Jatuh". Tribunnews. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  28. ^ "Soal Hasil Investigasi Tragedi Hercules, Panglima TNI: Butuh Waktu 2 Minggu". detiknews. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  29. ^ "The US imposed military sanctions (arms embargo and suspension of military assistance) against the Indonesian government on September 9, 1999 (the US government lifted military sanctions against the government on November 22, 2005); from google (us embargo indonesia east timor 1999) result 7".
  30. ^ "Hercules C-130 Jadi Alat Tukar CIA Yang Ditawan Di Indonesia". CNNIndonesia. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Bukti Awal Penyebab Jatuhnya Hercules C-130". Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Hercules Jatuh Akibat Mesin No.4 Rusak". Tribun News. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  33. ^ "TNI AU:Masalah mesin dan antena liar penyebab Hercules C-130 jatuh" (in Indonesian). merdeka. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  34. ^ "Insiden Hercules, Jokowi Instruksikan untuk Pensiunkan Alutsista yang Sudah Tua". Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 7 July 2015.

External linksEdit