September 15, 1995
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT)
TAWAU, Malaysia (CNN) -- A Malaysian Airline System (MAS) plane crashed in Tawau, Malaysia Friday, killing 34 people on board and injuring nine on the ground. Sixteen survived what's being called the national carrier's worst disaster in nearly two decades.
The plane was attempting to land at Tawau airport when it overshot the runway and plunged into neighboring houses. The flight, from the Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu, was carrying 49 passengers and four crew members.
Eyewitnesses and MAS ground staff at Tawau said they heard a big explosion and saw the aircraft engulfed in flames after it tore into 20 wooden squatter houses, occupied by Indonesians and Filipinos, near the airport.
Flight attendant Kamarul Bahrin said everything else seemed routine until the landing. "I made my routine checks to see if the passengers were buckled safely before I went back to my seat near the cockpit," he said. "I felt the landing gear come out as we were landing," adding that he felt the left side of the plane hit the ground before he heard explosions.
The visibility on the runway was normal, despite some cloudy conditions in the area.
A MAS spokesperson told reporters that the engines of the Fokker 50 had passed a routine inspection two days earlier.,
Tawau police said the remains of the 34 passengers had been found, while two people were still missing.
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