Two pilots die in plane
crash during Bandung Air

Two retired Air Force pilots died in a plane crash during the Bandung Air Show on Saturday.

They are identified as Air Commodore (ret.) Norman T. Lubis and Let. Col. (ret.) Toni Hartono. Both were members of Indonesian Aerosport Federation.

Husein Sastranegara Air Base commander Col. Umar Sugeng said that their AS 202 Bravo aircraft took off at 11:37.

"It crashed a few minutes later, while the plane was roaring past the crowd of the Bandung Air Show. Both pilots [who sat side-by-side so that either could take control of the aircraft] have been confirmed dead at the scene," Umar told journalists.

The two-seater plane, flying with the code LM-2003, nosedived into the southern part of the airbase after performing an acrobatic stunt. According to eyewitnesses, they only saw a puff of smoke from the point where they last saw the aircraft.

The AS 202 Bravo, an aircraft that usually used for basic pilot training, apparently crashed into the Air Force Officers' Wives Association building located inside the air force research and development agency’s compound. "Fortunately the building was empty at that time," Umar said.

A rescue team that arrived at the crash site a few minutes later, and brought the bodies to Hasan Sadikin Hospital for autopsy.

This is not the first accident to have happened during the Bandung Air Show. In 2010, pilot Alex Supeli suffered major injuries after his Super Decathlon plane crashed during an acrobatic stunt at the event.

Umar said all aerobatic stunts would be halted to mourn the death of the pilots, but that the exhibition would still continue.

He added that a joint team from the Indonesia Aerosport Federation and the Air Force would investigate the cause of the accident.(iwa)

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