Plane Engulfed by Fire at Indonesian Air Show

A pilot was seriously injured when he crashed a plane while performing a low-altitude stunt at an air show in Indonesia on Friday, officials and witnesses said.

Thousands of people including children from local kindergartens watched on in horror as the Super Decathlon plane smashed into the ground and burst into flames at Husein Sastranegara Air Base in Bandung city.

“The pilot failed to control the aircraft during an aerobatic manoeuvre at low altitude. The plane hit the ground and caught fire,” Air Force spokesman Bambang Samudro told AFP. The single-prop plane belonged to the Indonesian Aero Sports Federation and the pilot, Alexander Supeli, had won second place at an international aerobatics championship in Australia in 1997.

“The pilot is in intensive care at a hospital with serious injuries.”

The pilot — the only person aboard the single-engine aircraft — was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, said Asni Wati, the spokesman for the city of Bandung’s international airport. No one on the ground was injured.

Gasps rang out from the crowd of spectators — many of them elementary school students — as the plane burst into flames. The accident occurred on the second day of an air show celebrating the 200th anniversary of Bandung, located 120 kilometers southeast of the capital, Jakarta.