Hercules C-130 (illustration)
Hercules C-130 (illustration) Yissachar Ruas

A military airplane crashed in the provincial capital of Medan, Indonesia on Tuesday, with the official death toll currently standing at 53 even as search efforts continue; it is feared that the actual number of dead may be well over 100 people.

A Hercules C-130 plane crashed into two houses and a hotel before exploding, in a serious malfunction caused by some as yet unknown reason.

Air Force chief Agus Supriatna told reporters at the crash site that of the 113 people on board it is believed that there were no survivors, reports BBC. Currently only 53 bodies have yet been located, and of them several dozen have been identified.

The massive transport plane set off from Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on Tuesday with about 113 people on board, reportedly including among them family of military personnel as well. It was said to be carrying logistical supplies to other bases.

AFP cited officials saying there were 12 crew members and 101 passengers on board.

The plane made two stops in Pekanbaru and Dumai, and was on its way from Soewondo Air Force Base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Sumatra when the malfunction occurred.

The aircraft was built by the US in the 1960s, but it had been inspected and cleared to fly before leaving Soewondo.

This is reportedly the second time that Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, has suffered a major plane crash in the last ten years.

Back in September 2005, a Boeing 737 crashed in a busy residential area not long after taking off from the city's Polonia Airport.

In that instance a full 143 people were killed, including 30 on the ground aside from the passengers of the plane.