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Indonesia military plane crashes in Sumatra

An Indonesian military transport plane has crashed in the city of Medan in northern Sumatra. The aircraft was carrying 113 people on board.

According to local television, the Hercules C-130 transport plane crashed into houses and a car in a built-up area shortly after midday on Tuesday.

The aircraft was destroyed in the crash, moments after taking off from an air force base in Medan.

Media reports said the pilot had asked to return to base due to technical problems.

Pictures shared on social media showed emergency services converging on the crash site, with the fuselage visible among flames and thick black smoke. The images also showed significant damage to nearby buildings.

The plane was carrying 113 people at the time of the crash, among them 12 crew members.

A spokeswoman for Adam Malik hospital, Sairi M. Saragih, said at least 20 bodies had been brought to the clinic. The death toll was expected to rise.

Medan suffered a similar aircraft disaster less than 10 years ago. In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after taking off from the city's Polonia International Airport. The accident claimed the lives of 143 people, including 30 on the ground.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AP, dpa)