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Garuda Plane With 140 People Crashes in Indonesia (Update2)

By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja and Claire Leow

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- A PT Garuda Indonesia Airline plane with 140 people crashed and caught fire in central Java in Indonesia, and 76 have been rescued, Indonesian Transport Minister Hatta Rajasa said in an interview with MetroTV news.

The Boeing Co. 737 plane from Jakarta ran off the runway at about 7 a.m. local time after landing at Yogyakarta, an airport official named Yusmintoro said in an interview on Elshinta radio.

The plane's fuselage melted as it was consumed by flames about 100 meters off the runway, MetroTV said in an interview with Hariman Siregar, a witness at the airport. Two months earlier, a 17 year-old PT Adam Skyconnection Airlines Boeing Co. 737-300 plane, carrying 102 people, disappeared off the coast of Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

About five explosions were heard during today's crash, Yusmintoro was cited as saying. There were 133 passengers and seven crew members, according to Pujobroto, a Garuda spokesman, who uses one name.

The line at Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta was not answered. Calls to the mobile phone of Mark Hooper, Boeing's Hong Kong-based spokesman, went unanswered.

Staff from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and journalists covering Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's visit to Indonesia were on board the plane, Sky News said.

Safety Investigation

The recent airline accidents have prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to order an investigation into the country's transportation safety standards. About 80 percent to 90 percent of planes in Indonesia are over 10 years old, according to PT Lion Mentari Airlines spokesman Hasyim Arsal Alhabsyi.

Indonesia last month grounded seven of Adam Skyconnection Airlines's Boeing 737-300 planes, a third of its fleet, after the fuselage of one of its jets broke upon landing in Surabaya, East Java on Feb. 21.

On Feb. 28, Transport Minister Rajasa said Indonesia may ban airlines from buying older planes. The government may cut the maximum age used planes can be sold at to 10 years from the current 20, he said.

On Sept. 5, 2005, a PT Mandala Airlines jetliner crashed into a residential district North Sumatra province, killing 149 people.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja in Jakarta at wahyudi@bloomberg.net ; Claire Leow in Jakarta at cleow@bloomberg.net .

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abH_B82UuUs4&refer=home
 
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jet crash highlights poor safety record By staff writers
March 07, 2007 01:21pm



INDONESIA'S transport safety record is once again in the spotlight following today's jet crash at an airport in central Java which has left dozens of passengers burnt to death.

It is believed the Garuda airplane, flight number GA-200, was carrying several Australians, including diplomatic staff and journalists covering Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's visit to Indonesia.

Mr Downer was not believed to be on the flight.

"I saw many bodies, dozens of bodies badly burnt near the exit," Captain Yos Bintoro, an airport official, told Elshinta radio.

Today's crash follows the disappearance of an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 passenger plane in a mountainous region, off the west coast of Sulawesi, last January.

The domestic Indonesian flight was carrying 102 passengers and crew and all are reported dead.

Last December, hundreds died after a ferry carrying at least 600 passengers sunk during a storm as it travelled in the Java sea.

In September, 2005, a domestic airliner operated by Mandala Airlines crashed in Indonesia's city of Medan, killing 102 aboard and 47 residents on the ground.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21340394-2,00.html
 
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Australians caught up in Indonesia plane crash
07 Mar 2007 04:27:25 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA, March 7 (Reuters) - Yogyakarta has always been a hair-raising destination, with its bumpy, rolling runway seemingly made worse by last year's heavy earthquake.

The expected arrival of Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to meet the city's powerful ruling Sultan meant the Garuda Indonesian jet that caught fire on landing there on Wednesday was carrying a number of Australian government officials and journalists.

Prime Minister John Howard said at least 10 citizens were on board and some remained unaccounted for, including one defence force liaison staffer and an Australian Federal Police officer.

Also missing was an embassy staffer travelling from Jakarta for Downer's visit.

"I've given authority for any aircraft, medical assistance and the like that is needed -- not only for the Australians but for others involved in the accident -- to be made available immediately," Howard said.

At least 49 people were killed but dozens escaped after the Boeing 737-400 carrying 133 passengers and seven crew overshot the runway and burst into flames on landing.

An Australian television cameraman, Wayne Sukarda, reportedly broke both legs in the accident while a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald, Cynthia Banham, suffered burns to both legs and was recovering in a Yogyakarta hospital.

Downer and Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock were not in the city -- Java's ancient capital and a tourist drawcard -- having been delayed in Jakarta following a security summit.

Downer's air force VIP jet was due to fly to the city as soon as the runway was cleared to offer help to any injured Indonesians or Australians requiring medical evacuation.

The rough Yogyakarta strip, used also by Indonesian air force planes, frequently causes aircraft to hit hard while touching down, prompting gasps from passengers as the planes bounce to a shuddering stop.

Garuda's commuter flight from Jakarta was servicing one of the country's busiest air routes, also popular with tourists headed for Yogyakarta's famed Buddhist and Hindu monuments.

Aviation disaster expert Robert Heath said aircraft speed might have been a factor in the crash.

"From what I can see so far the aircraft appeared to land intact and that may point to excess speed being a factor," said Professor Heath, from the University of South Australia.

"The fire may have been caused by the nose wheel hitting things as it ran off the runway or engine destruction. It was probable that a fuel tank was punctured on impact and to me it looks very similar to the Manchester Airport crash in 1985 that showed a burn pattern across the top cabin."


http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SYD234696.htm
 
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Garuda Plane Crash in Indonesia Kills at Least 58 (Update4)

By Aloysius Unditu and Claire Leow

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- A PT Garuda Indonesia plane carrying 140 people crashed and caught fire in central Java in Indonesia killing at least 58, a provincial health ministry official said.

The bodies retrieved from the 15 year-old Boeing Co. 737- 400 plane are being taken to Yogyakarta's main hospital for autopsy, Sugeng Dwi Riyanto, a health ministry official said by phone. The flight originated in Jakarta and crashed as it landed in Yogyakarta at about 7 a.m. local time.

The plane's fuselage melted as it was consumed by flames about 100 meters off the runway, according to television reports. Two months ago, a 17 year-old PT Adam Skyconnection Airlines Boeing Co. 737-300 plane, carrying 102 people, disappeared off the coast of Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

About five explosions were heard during today's crash, ElShinta radio cited Yusmintoro, an airport official as saying. There were 133 passengers and seven crew members aboard, according to Pujobroto, a Garuda spokesman, who uses one name.

``A Boeing air safety investigator is in Indonesia and will assist with the investigation,'' said Boeing spokesman Ken Mercer from Seattle. ``Boeing expresses profound concern for the safety of the passengers and crew.''

Local hospitals were treating at least 62 people for injuries. The injured include at least 26 Indonesians, one Japanese and one Australian, Sif Wuryanto, a spokesman at a local hospital said by phone.

Four of nine Australians on the plane are missing, Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a briefing in Jakarta today. The rest are being treated in local hospitals, he said. Downer, who is in Indonesia to attend a terrorism conference, will go to Yogyakarta later today.

Safety Investigation

The recent airline accidents have prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to order an investigation into the country's transportation safety standards. About 80 percent to 90 percent of planes in Indonesia are over 10 years old, according to PT Lion Mentari Airlines spokesman Hasyim Arsal Alhabsyi.

Indonesia last month grounded seven of Adam Skyconnection Airlines's Boeing 737-300 planes, a third of its fleet, after the fuselage of one of its jets broke upon landing in Surabaya, East Java on Feb. 21.

On Feb. 28, Transport Minister Rajasa said Indonesia may ban airlines from buying older planes. The government may cut the maximum age used planes can be sold at to 10 years from the current 20, he said.

On Sept. 5, 2005, a PT Mandala Airlines jetliner crashed into a residential district North Sumatra province, killing 149 people.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aloysius Unditu in Jakarta at aunditu@bloomberg.net ; Claire Leow in Jakarta at cleow@bloomberg.net .

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=ahO...jgsE&refer=australia
 
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A PILOT coming in to land too fast has been been blamed for the crash yesterday in which at least 22 people, including five Australians, died on a Garuda jet that overshot the runway at Yogyakarta Airport and exploded.

Four Australian officials and one journalist were missing last night. There appears to be no hope they survived the inferno that engulfed the front of the plane, where they were seated.

"The plane came hurtling in to the runway at a much greater speed than an aeroplane would normally land at," said Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who arrived in Yogyakarta later yesterday.

He said he spoke to two RAAF officers who survived the crash. "They thought the plane would never stop in the length of the runway," Mr Downer told The 7.30 Report. "It duly didn't. It just ploughed across the end of the runway, across a road, hit a bank and a culvert and went into a paddy field. When it hit the bank and culvert it exploded."

Garuda Airlines said 22 people, including a crew member, died and 118 people, including six crew, survived. The nationalities were not revealed. It is believed a pilot lived.

The missing Australians were the Jakarta embassy spokeswoman, Liz O'Neill, and an AusAID Jakarta official, Allison Sudrajat. Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish was also missing "” and late last night his ID card was found on one body. Also unaccounted for were two senior Australian Federal Police officers, Brice Steele, one of the nation's top counter-terrorism experts, and Mark Scott.

All were travelling because of a visit by Mr Downer, who has been co-hosting an anti-terrorist conference.

A Sydney Morning Herald correspondent, Cynthia Banham, was pulled from the wreckage with burns across half of her body and back fractures. "I thought I was going to die," she said from her hospital bed. "I saw them burning alive. I should be dead."

Banham had been sitting alongside some of the missing Australians. Three other Australians were injured, one of whom also had serious burns.

Last night an ashen-faced Mr Downer inspected the wreckage then visited Sardjito hospital, where he saw survivors. Businessman Roger Tallboys, 63, a Hong Kong resident, suffered burns, and RAAF officer Michael Hatton, 47, a broken shoulder. RAAF officer Kyle Quinman, 23, was being treated as an outpatient for minor injuries.

Australia has sent expert medical teams to Indonesia to help Australian and other victims of the crash and to repatriate the most severely injured if necessary. Six federal police experts have arrived to help identify the dead.

Mr Downer and Prime Minister John Howard said they had no information to suggest terrorism or sabotage was to blame.

Mr Howard said Australia and Indonesia had been "united in a wave of tragedies".

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an investigation, appointing his security minister to probe possible "non-technical" causes.

Indonesian air safety investigator Joseph Tumenggung said at the scene that there was no early indication of foul play. He said officers had mapped the distribution of the wreckage, which will help find the cause.

Speaking to The Age, he said the pilot had overshot the landing zone on the runway and might have been trying to get the plane back in the air, suggested by the landing flaps not being fully deployed.

The Australians were to be airlifted to a Darwin hospital last night, with more patients expected to arrive for treatment tomorrow.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, also in Indonesia for the anti-terror conference, will return to Australia on a commercial flight. His Challenger aircraft, and Mr Downer's, will be left at the disposal of victims who need the be flown to Australia.

Burns specialist Dr Fiona Wood was to fly to Yogyakarta last night to help treat the injured, but the departure of the Government's emergency response jet was delayed until this morning because of fears about the runway at Yogyakarta.

Another survivor, Din Syamsuddin, a head of Indonesia's 30 million-strong Muslim group Muhammadiyah, who was travelling to Yogyakarta to meet Mr Downer, said: "I was sleeping, then the plane slammed twice and I heard people screaming. The plane was full of smoke. I just jumped from two metres high and landed in a rice field." Then the flames erupted.

Dramatic footage of the crash site taken by cameraman Wayan Sukardo for Australian television networks showed injured passengers staggering to safety from the burning wreckage.

Against a backdrop of orange flames and black smoke, the passengers made their way across the rice fields to safety, some covered with blood. The trousers of one man had been blown off.

An Indonesian Air Force commander at the site said the plane was travelling too fast and hurtled off the end of the runway.

An Australian crisis management expert agreed yesterday that excessive landing speed may have caused the crash.

Associate Professor Robert Heath, of the University of South Australia, said the plane appeared to land intact, and the fire might have been caused by an engine break-up or a puncture to a fuel tank.

"From what I can see so far, the aircraft appeared to land intact and that may point to excess speed being a factor," Professor Heath said.

Witnesses said there were inadequate resources to deal with the accident, and a fire hose being used in an attempt to douse the flames burst.

Another passenger, Murni Hilal, said she felt something was wrong just before landing. Professor Hilal said: "The plane simply didn't fly properly."

At one point she heard an explosion. "Suddenly the situation was out of control," she said. "People panicked when we saw fire. I just heard a steward shout 'Quick! Quick!' Things were just chaotic."

Fleets of private cars and ambulances ferried the survivors of the 140 on board.

Indonesia's Transport Minister, Hatta Radjasa, said he was told that the plane touched down a third of the way along the runway, without room to stop.

The disaster is the latest in a string of Indonesian aircraft crashes. At least 310 have died in air crashes in Indonesia in the past 21/2 years.

Mr Radjasa has already flagged banning jets more than 10 years old from passenger routes, after another Boeing 737 flown by Adam Air crashed into the sea in January, killing more than 100. The Boeing 737 that crashed yesterday was 15 years old.

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