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Australians missing after Indonesian plane cr -

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Australians missing after Indonesian plane crash: Downer

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

KERRY O'BRIEN: An Australian emergency response team, including burns experts, is on its way to
Indonesia tonight, to the scene of that devastating plane crash that has claimed more than 49
lives. Reports are still conflicting but around 10 Australians were on board; five are unaccounted
for, after the Garuda Boeing jet burst into flames while landing at Yogyakarta airport in central
Java. The survivors are being treated in local hospitals and plans are in place to transfer
Australians back home once their conditions are stabilised. The Australians were part of a
contingent of government officials, Federal Police and media travelling from Jakarta to cover the
Indonesian visit of federal ministers Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock. I'm joined now by Mr
Downer on the phone from Yogyakarta and he's been at the crash site and the hospitals.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Alexander Downer, obviously it goes without saying that it was grim. But have you am
I correct that the latest is, five Australians still missing?

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Five are missing, yes. We've had some unconfirmed reports at
one stage about one of them from the Indonesians, but it doesn't seem that those reports were
accurate, so we are still sticking with the figure of five, and then there are five who are
accounted for, four of whom are in hospitals in varying degrees of difficulty and then there is one
who we understand, we haven't caught up with him yet, though, we understand he just walked away
from the plane and is in a hotel in Yogyakarta.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now, you've spoken to four, I think, of the survivors in hospitals. What is the
picture that they have presented to you?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, first of all, they're in varying degrees of health, you know. At the one
extreme, one of them is in pretty good shape and, at the other extreme, there are a couple who are
suffering quite a lot, let me put it that way. In terms of what actually happened, the two who are
in the best health told me that the plane came hurtling in to the runway at a much greater speed
than an aeroplane would normally land at and they themselves were both from the RAAF, from the Air
Force; they themselves thought the plane would never stop in the length of the runway, which it
duly didn't. They just ploughed across the end of the runway across a road, hit a bank and a
culvert and went into a paddy field and when it hit the bank and the culvert it exploded.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What was the sight that met you when you visited the crash scene?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, the fire had all been extinguished by then. That was at about 1.30 or 2, I
suppose. 1.30 in the afternoon, and the crash happened at 7:00 in the morning. So the fire had all
been eventually extinguished, but it is just a charred remain of an aircraft and there are bits and
pieces of the aircraft strewn across what was once a paddy field and there are, of course, people
surrounding the site with cameras and there are police and it's cordoned off, as a police crime
site would be.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And the emergency response team that's on its way to Yogyakarta, what are the plans
for that unit? What will it do?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: There are two teams that are coming. One of them is a medical team from the
Australian Defence Force. That will be here, I think I am right in saying, tomorrow morning and
they'll be able to provide additional medical assistance over and above what the hospitals here are
doing, though the hospitals seem pretty good to me, the two I visited. They can medivac people as
well if that is necessary. Then in addition to that, there is a Boeing, one of the official
government Boeings is coming up here overnight, which is bringing an emergency response team. They
are people who are able to provide logistical assistance of one kind or another for the
Australians, additional consular assistance and, you know, social security assistance and so on,
just to make sure that people don't have to confront those sorts of difficulties.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Alexander Downer, particularly in these difficult circumstances, thanks for joining
us.

ALEXANDER DOWNER: It's a pleasure.