Tag: accident

Lion air crash: Third pilot was on plane’s next-to-last flight

A third pilot was on a Lion Air flight that encountered technical problems the night before the same plane crashed into the sea on October 29, Indonesia crash investigators said Thursday. 

A different crew piloted the Boeing 737 Max 8 on its fatal last flight and was unable to fix reportedly similar problems, causing the plane to plummet into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.   

“It is true there was another pilot in the cockpit during the flight [from Bali to Jakarta],” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT). 

The third pilot was an off-duty staffer who was returning from Bali to Jakarta and was qualified to fly the Max 8. 

“The pilot has been interviewed by KNKT but we will not disclose the content of the interview,” Soerjanto said. 

The news agency Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two unnamed sources, that the extra pilot correctly diagnosed the problem and told the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane.

The off-duty pilot told the crew to cut power to the motor in the trim system that was driving the nose down, the report said.

A preliminary report on the accident released in November revealed that the pilots of the doomed flight tried to pull the aircraft back up repeatedly as the aircraft’s automatic nose-down manoeuvre was activated. 

Investigators have focused on the role of a new feature in the Boeing aircraft, known as the manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), in the crash.

The system has been installed by Boeing on its latest generation of 737 to prevent the plane’s nose from getting too high and causing the aircraft to stall.

But in the fatal incident last month, it appeared to have forced the nose down after receiving erroneous information from sensors.

On March 10, a Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Air crashed, killing all 157 people on board. There are concerns that a similar malfunction may have caused the crash.

Tjahjono declined to comment on remarks by Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges that there were “clear similarities” between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash.

“If there’s a new development and KNKT has access to information on the ET302 accident, we will look into and analyse it thoroughly to complement our investigation into the Lion Air crash,” he said. 

Tjahjono also denied that KNKT had leaked the contents of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), after Reuters reported quoting anonymous sources that the pilots scrambled through the handbook to save the aircraft.

“They are not the same as the contents of the CVR. The accounts are someone else’s opinion,” he said.

Another KNKT investigator, Nurcahyo Utomo, said: “Based on the CVR, we can assume that for the most part of the flight, they were calm.”

“In the last few seconds of the flight, it seemd they panicked after they realized they could not recover the aircraft,” he added. 

An Indonesian miner survives 300 meter underground as rescue attempt underway

A rescue operation was under way Sunday to free a miner who has been trapped for seven days in an underground gold mine on Halmahera island in Indonesia’s North Maluku province.

Solo drill operator Mursalim Sahman, 36, is reportedly in good health despite being trapped in a mining chamber 300 metres underground and has maintained contact with his family using a newly installed phone line.

The Gosowong gold mine is operated by PT Nusa Halmahera Mineral (NHM), a joint venture between Australia’s Newcrest Mining, which controls 75 per cent of the shares, and state-owned miner PT Aneka Tambang.

“Earlier this morning we broke through into the chamber where Mursalim is located after completing the boring of a 70-centimetre diameter hole approximately 38 metres deep. This is a significant milestone in developing our primary rescue option,” Newcrest managing director and CEO Sandeep Biswan said in a statement released Sunday.

“Before we attempt the extraction, we will need to line the bore hole so that we can safely bring Mursalim up. It is expected that lining the hole will take several days,” Biswan said.

Local news web site Viva.co.id reported that there were 50 miners who were working in the Kencana underground mine tunnel when it collapsed on Monday, but 49 managed to get out, while Mursalim, who is a native of Halmahera, failed to do the same as he was manning heavy machinery.

The rescue operation has been under way since then. Operation of the company’s underground mines, which produce gold and silver dore, has been halted in the meantime.

A spokeswoman for NHM, Herastuti Haryogyo said the company was able to establish first contact with Mursalim Wednesday at around 10:00 Eastern Indonesia Time (WIT) since the collapse through a 54-meter bore hole with small diameter.

According to the company, Mursalim told the rescue team that he has some food and water supply to go by underground.

The company said a “geotechnical” event of unknown cause spurred the mine collapse, which occurred at 8:30 pm on Monday.

NHM workforce is about 1,700 employees and contractors. It produced 331,555 ounces of gold as of June 2015.

 

Three killed in Air Force plane crash

Three people were killed on Wednesday when a military plane crashed into a residential area in Indonesia’s East Java province, officials said. Continue reading “Three killed in Air Force plane crash”

Wildfire kills 7 hikers on Java’s Mount Lawu; two critically injured

Seven climbers were killed and two others critically injured after a wildfire broke out on Mount Lawu on Indonesia’s Java island, an official said.

Rescuers found the seven bodies on Mount Lawu on Sunday and Monday, said Agung Lewis, the head of the disaster management agency in Magetan regency.

Two other hikers were still being trapped, he said,

Agung said it was not clear what sparked the fire.

The spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said late Sunday that the blaze was apparently triggered by a campfire that had not been fully extinguished.

The 3,265-meter mountain, a popular hiking destination, is a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1885.

Helicopter crash survivor held up by water hyacinth in Lake Toba

A man was found alive two days after a helicopter crashed into Lake Toby in North Sumatra, held up by a dense mat of water hyacinth, a search official said Tuesday. Continue reading “Helicopter crash survivor held up by water hyacinth in Lake Toba”

Garuda flight attendant injured after wine chiller explodes mid-air

A flight attendant was severely injured when an on-board wine chiller exploded during a Garuda Indonesia flight, the airline said.

The plane was flying with 186 passengers from Melbourne to Jakarta on Saturday when the incident occurred, Garuda spokesman Benny Butarbutar said.

“There was a small explosion in the galley in the middle of the plane but it did not disrupt the flight,” which landed on time in Jakarta, he said.

The spokesman said it was not clear what caused the explosion and no passenger was hurt.

A flight attendant was injured when a pantry panel was blown off and hit her in the face, Butarbutar said.

She was in intensive care after surgery, he said.

Brother of Medan crash victim died in similar accident 24 years ago

The brother of an Air Force member who was killed when the Hercules C-130 plane crashed into Medan also died in a similar accident involving the same type of aircraft 24 years ago.  Continue reading “Brother of Medan crash victim died in similar accident 24 years ago”

Death toll climbs to 142 in Hercules plane crash

At least 142 people were confirmed dead after a military plane crashed into residential area in Medan just two minutes after take-off, hospital staff said Wednesday.

The Hercules C-130 aircraft ploughed into houses and commercial buildings on Tuesday after taking off from the Soewondo airbase in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, officials said.

More than 30 of 142 bodies taken to Adam Malik hospital had been identified and were being handed over to their families, said hospital spokeswoman Sairi Saragih.

Armed forces spokesman Fuad Basya said earlier that eight bodies were of victims on the ground or in buildings.

Workers cleared the crash site and cut large pieces of the plane’s fuselage among destroyed houses and rubble in the streets.

The pilot had made a request to return to base moments before it went down, likely because of engine trouble, military officials said.

The aircraft was carrying 113 people when it left Jakarta, including personnel and their relatives, but some may have got off or on the plane after stopovers in Pekanbaru, Dumai and Medan, Air Force chief Air Marshal Agus Supriatna said Tuesday.

The military said the plane was 51 years old but insisted it was airworthy.

Agus said Tuesday that all B-model C-130s, which were produced in the early 1960s, would be grounded pending an investigation into the crash.

The crashed plane was one of 28 Lockheed C-130 cargo aircraft of different models and ages operated by the military.

The accident has put a spotlight on Indonesia’s poor aviation safety record and ageing military hardware after a 2009 crash involving a C-130 aircraft in East Java province killed at least 98 people.

President Joko Widodo urged a “thorough” investigation into the accident.

“I ask the minister of defence and the armed forces chief to embark on a comprehensive overhaul of the management of military equipment,” Joko said Wednesday.

“We don’t just buy. We have to modernize,” he said.

Since the resignation of the late president  Soeharto in 1998, the TNI has undergone reforms, but efforts to modernize it were hampered by budget constraints after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Jokowi’s predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched an ambitious plan to renew old defence equipment, with a defence budget of 156 trillion rupiah (11.7 billion dollars) earmarked for the 2011-14 period.

The government laid out plans to buy modern fighter aircraft, submarines and tanks, and enter into joint ventures with foreign defence companies for local production of weaponry.

Armed forces spokesman Fuad Basya said Indonesia is diversifying the sources of its defence hardware, buying from countries such as Germany, Brazil, Serbia and Russia.

So far the military has achieved only 38 per cent of its “minimum essential force” goal, Fuad said.

“We are happy to hear the president’s commitment and we hope his ministries can realize it,” he said. “The economic situation should not be an obstacle if the government has the commitment.”

Evan Laksmana, a military observer at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, questioned whether the aircraft was fit enough to carry more than 100 passengers with cargo.

“While the Hercules C-130 can theoretically carry up to 42,000 pounds (19,050 kilograms), many consider 100 passengers to be too many for an ageing aircraft,” said

“The Hercules C-130 fleet is ageing, what sort of maintenance policies are in place and are they strictly enforced?” he said

Evan said maintenance is not less important than modernization.

“Procuring advanced platforms is one thing, but budget and planning rarely go into maintenance,” he said.

“As most of our military casualties result from aircraft-related accidents, why is the Air Force still seen as a step-brother among the services?” he said.

Jokowi has been publicly criticized for breaking the tradition of rotating the post of military chief by appointing an army general instead of the Air Force chief, who was supposed to be the next in line for the job.

Meto TV reported that relatives of the victims claimed their loved ones had paid to fly aboard the crashed plane, raising questions about whether the crew had breached safety regulations by selling space to civilians on the aircraft.

Fuad said the military was investigating the allegations, but insisted that those on board were military personnel and their families.

He also dismissed concerns about the age of the aircraft, saying it had not reached the end of its service life.

“Planes are not like human beings,” he said. “If a Hercules’ engine is broken and then replaced it can be like new again.”

At least 72 killed in military plane crash in Medan

At least 72 people were killed Tuesday after an Air Force Hercules C-130 plane crashed in Medan and burst into flames, hospital staff and officials said.

Air Force chief Air Marshal Agus Supriatna said there were no survivors after the plane ploughed into houses and commercial buildings in Medan, North Sumatera.

The plane left Jakarta with 113 people aboard, including military personnel and their relatives, but it was not clear how many continued the journey to Medan after stopovers in Pekanbaru and Dumai, Agus said.

It was bound for Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island to drop supplies when it crashed, he said.

Medan’s Adam Malik hospital spokeswoman Sairi Saragih said 72 bodies had been brought in.

Earlier officials said the plane was carrying about 50 passengers and 12 crew members at the time of the accident.

The plane crashed two minutes after takeoff and the pilot made a request to return to base moments before it went down, Air Force chief Agus said.

“There must have been problems and the pilot was trying to return,” he said.

Agus said the crashed plane was 51 years old but insisted that an aircraft’s age did not matter as long as it was well maintained.

But he said all B-model C-130s, which were produced in the early 1960s, would be grounded pending an investigation into the crash.

Television footage showed part of a shophouse and at least one car destroyed, with smoke seen billowing into the air.

The military released the names of 12 crew members, but not other people on the plane.

“Five members of my family were on the plane,” a man identified as Jansen told Metro TV, sobbing.

“I appeal to authorities to keep us informed about the fate of our families,” he said.

Zani Nasution, a resident, said he saw the plane wobbling before it crashed and sparked balls of fire.

“There was a loud explosion,” he told the broadcaster.

The crash has again put a spotlight on Indonesia’s poor aviation safety record and aging military hardware.

President Joko Widodo said the government would audit military equipment to ensure safety.

“This and previous accidents are all the more reason we must modernise our military equipment,” Joko told reporters.

The Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI)  operates 28 Lockheed C-130 cargo aircraft.

At least 98 people were killed in 2009 when a C-130 plane crashed in Magetan in East Java province. Fifteen people survived that accident.

Indonesian military chief: No more second-hand fighter jets

Jakarta – Indonesia’s military chief General Moeldoko has said the country should no longer buy second-hand defence equipment, after an F-16 fighter jet burst into flames on runway at the Halim Perdanakusuma airbase. Continue reading “Indonesian military chief: No more second-hand fighter jets”