Indonesia probes air crash as neighborhood mourns
Weeping residents of Indonesia's third-biggest city picked through the charred rubble of their homes on Tuesday a day after a domestic airliner slammed into a local neighborhood, killing 149 people, Reuters said.
Police watching over the wreckage of Mandala Airlines flight RI 091 said its black box had been found late on Monday night and sent for analysis by investigators looking into the cause of the disaster.
The crash, just seconds after take-off from Medan city's Polonia airport on Sumatra island, killed 102 people aboard and 47 others in an inferno on the ground.
Dozens of soldiers combed the crash site for human remains at dawn and a strong smell of burning hung in the air. A Reuters reporter at the scene saw several body parts collected by troops.
"At first I heard a bang. Then I looked up (to the ceiling) and there were balls of fire and then my son and daughter-in-law came to get me," said Mariam, a 73-year-old grandmother, sitting in the blackened wreckage of her former home.
"We all ran from the back of the house."
Around her, at least a dozen destroyed homes could be seen. Officials have said some 20 homes were damaged by fire.
"We didn't hear any noise of a plane. All we heard was boom, boom and we just ran," said Mariam's daughter-in-law, Nurlaela.
The plane was carrying 112 passengers and five crew on a flight to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Survivors said the plane started to shake heavily after take off, and failed to clear landing system instruments at the end of the runway.
The aircraft clipped a river bank, swerved right and then plowed into homes bordering one of the city's busiest roads and burst into flames.