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Indonesian jetliner bursts into flames, at least 23 dead

Written By Syafrein Effendiuz on 7/03/07 | Rabu, Mac 07, 2007

Yogyakarta, Mar 07: A packed Indonesian jetliner crash-landed and erupted in flames on Wednesday, killing 23 people trapped inside the burning wreckage.

More than 115 others escaped through emergency exits as black smoke billowed behind them, authorities and witnesses said.

Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa told reporters in Yogyakarta that 23 of the 140 passengers and crew on board died. Garuda said the injured passengers were being treated at three hospitals.

Survivors, many of them bloodied and dazed, said the Boeing 737-400 shook violently as it approached Yogyakarta Airport and then shot off the runway, plowing through a fence and then coming to a halt in a rice field.

"Suddenly there was smoke inside the fuselage, it hit the runway and then it landed in a rice field," local Islamic leader Dien Syamsudin told el-Shinta radio station.

"I saw a foreigner. His clothes were on fire and I jumped from the emergency exit. Thank God I survived."

The government ordered an investigation into the crash, the third involving a commercial jetliner in the country in as many months.

The nationalities of the dead and injured were not released.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered a thorough investigation into the crash, appointing the security minister to look into possible "nontechnical" causes, said spokesman Andi Mallarangeng, in an apparent reference to sabotage.

Bureau Report [zeenews.com]