Indonesia passenger plane crash-lands, two injured

AFP , Monday 10 Jun 2013

An Indonesian passenger plane carrying 52 people crash-lands at an eastern airport, injuring two

An Indonesian passenger plane carrying 52 people crash-landed at an eastern airport Monday, injuring two, officials said, the latest accident to hit the country's fast-growing aviation sector.

The MA-60 aircraft, operated by state-owned Merpati Nusantara airlines, was coming in to land at an airport in East Nusa Tenggara province when the accident happened, said transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan.

Pictures showed the Chinese-made turbo-prop plane lying on its belly on the runway with its engines jammed facedown into the tarmac and its wings bent forward.

An increasing number of planes are taking to Indonesia's skies to feed growing demand from a booming middle class, but the vast archipelago has one of Asia's worst aviation safety records.

In April a Lion Air passenger jet carrying 108 people missed the runway as it came into land on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea and splitting in two. Dozens of people were injured but no one died.

Monday's accident happened as the plane, which was on a domestic flight from the central island of Flores, came into land at El Tari airport in Kupang city at 9:40 am (0140 GMT), Ervan said.

There were 52 people on board, 46 passengers and six crew, said Merpati spokesman Herry Saptanto.

"Two passengers sustained minor injuries from pieces of glass but they have left hospital and are now fine," he told AFP.

"The plane is badly damaged, I don't think it can be used anymore."

In May 2011 an MA-60 operated by Merpati crashed in West Papua province, killing 25 people.

Following that accident, authorities banned the plane -- manufactured by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation -- from landing at three airports with difficult approaches.

However, Saptanto said Monday the ban had been lifted six months earlier. El Tari was not one of the airports affected by the ban.

Merpati has been banned from flying in European Union airspace since 2007.

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