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Passenger plane skids off runway in Indonesia

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 12:41

Manokwari, Indonesia: A jet carrying about 100 passengers skidded off the runway into a shallow river as it landed in Indonesia on Tuesday, injuring some 20 people, officials said.
The Merpati airline Boeing 737 broke into pieces as it bounced off the tarmac at Rendani domestic airport in Manokwari, West Papua, director general of civil aviation Herry Bhakti Singayuda told.

"It skidded off the runway and part of its body landed in a river," he said, referring to a shallow waterway about 200 metres (600 feet) from the runway.

"All 103 passengers and six crew members are safe. Some are injured. They have been rushed to hospital."

Bad weather including heavy rain and fog were suspected of playing a part in the crash, he said, although expert investigators had yet to arrive at the scene.

Manokwari Hospital emergency unit nurse Benget Hutagalung said "about 20" people had been brought in with shattered limbs and head injuries. Witnesses said the left wing broke off as the plane hurtled into trees at the end of the runway.

The body of the plane came to rest with the tail section in the river and the cockpit almost sheered off. The plane was flying a domestic route from Sorong, also in West Papua province, to Manokwari, a distance of about 340 kilometres (210 miles).

Transport Ministry experts from the capital Jakarta were on their way to the rugged province in the far east of the country to investigate the crash, an official said.

The vast archipelago of Indonesia relies heavily on air transport but has one of Asia`s worst air safety records.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 12:41

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