C-130 cargo plane (File Photo - AFP)

A total of 113 people are feared dead after an Indonesian air force C-130 plane crashed in a residential neighbourhood in the city of Medan on the northern island of Sumatra, according to military officials

The plane came down on Tuesday hitting empty residential buildings after bursting into flames shortly after take off.

There were 12 crew members and 101 passengers on board the plane, the AFP news agency reported, citing officials who spoke to local television.

Speaking shortly after the crash, Mardiaz Dwihananto, police chief of Medan city, said several bodies had been recovered from the wreckage.

“The bodies were in [the] debris of the plane and buildings…we are taking the bodies one by one by ambulance to Adam Malik hospital. We haven’t managed to evacuate all of the bodies,” Dwihananto said.

Local radio station, El Shinta, said the aircraft had hit homes, but it was not immediately clear if those inside had been killed or injured.

Military spokesman, Fuad Basya, said the plane took off at around midday local time from an air force base carrying military equipment and crashed in the city about two minutes later, about 5km from the base.

It is the second time in 10 years that a plane has crashed into a Medan neighbourhood. In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, into a crowded residential community, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

Medan, with about 3.4 million people, is the third most populous city in Indonesia after the capital Jakarta and Surabaya. (Al Jazeera)