Mily Commander: No human error in plane crash

April 7, 2009, Jakarta -- National Defense Forces (TNI) Commander General Djoko Santoso said Monday`s crash of an Air Force F-27 aircraft at Husein Sastranegara airport was not caused by human error but bad weather.

"The plane crashed because of bad weather. A stair wind hit one side of the aircraft," the TNI commander said at the State Palace here on Tuesday.

He said the ill-fated F-27 of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) was in good and airworthy condition before it crashed.

"We are sure the airplane was still airworthy because otherwise it would not have been able to fly. It is true that the plane was an aging one but each time it was to be flown it was checked first," he said.

Santoso said according to existing standard procedures military planes were subject to periodic airoworthiness checks.

Owing to the crash of Air Force`s F-27 which killed 24 members of the TNI-AU`s Elite Force, however, examinations of aircraft airworthiness would now be carried out more carefully, he said.

The Air Force F-27 accident killed all passengers which consisted of six crew members, an Air Force officer and 17 paratroop trainees.

When it was to land at Husein Sastranegara airport at 1 pm on Monday, the plane went out of control and crashed on Hangar D of the Aircraft Maintenance Service of the Indonesian Aircraft Industry (PT DI). It exploded and burst into flames.

The 17 trainees who had only recently been recruited by the TNI-AU Special Force were on a sky-diving orientation and scheduled to do a jumping exercise on April 8, 2009 at Sulaiman airbase in Bandung.

The 17 trainees were accompanied by 17 senior instructors who showed them how to jump and skydive with parachutes.

During the orientation, the new recruits were shown how to jump by the instructors because they would carry out the jumping exercise on April 8, 2009. (ANTARA)

Bad weather believed to be the cause of Fokker-27 plane crash

Monday`s crash of an Indonesian military plane carrying 24 people was believed to be caused by bad weather conditions, as it was raining heavily when the Fokker-27 plane was touching down on the runway of Husein Sastra Negara Airport of Bandung.

The Fokker 27 plane was making a landing during a regular training flight when it crashed into a hangar at the airport and burst into flames at 6:05 a.m GMT in Bandung, 110 km southeast of Jakarta, Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandriyo said here on Monday.

"Visibility is limited to two kilometers, as the sky was full of dark clouds. However, we are still forming a team to find out the cause of the accident," Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandriyo said here on Monday.

Before the aircraft crashed, it hit a building of the Aircraft Service Division (ACS) belonging to the Indonesian aircraft industry PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI), said an official at the operator center of Husein Sastranegara airport. Yanto said. "It is true that a Fokker 27 of the Indonesian Air Force has crashed at the airport," he said.

A ball of flame could be observed spiraling into the air following an explosion, eyewitnesses said.

Mujiono, an eyewitness and employee of a subsidiary of PT DI said that the accident took place about 10 minutes after heavy rain. At that time, he was standing in a hangar at the eastern tip of the runway, about 200 meters of the ACS building.

"A huge fire ball licked into the air,"

At least 17 paratroop trainees of the Indonesian Air Force lost their lives the mishap.

The exact number of the dead was still sketchy. Some sources said there were 17 paratroop trainees, but others said the plane had 23 servicemen on board for parachute jumping exercise.

Ambulances were ferrying the victims from the airport to a hospital at Jl. Cimbeuluit in Bandung, while hospital authorities were reluctant to give details. They however confirmed a number of deaths among the victims.

The Air Foce Special Troops spokesman Col. Nairiza said when contacted by ANTARA on Monday the many of the 17 paratroop trainees were badly burnt and some even cut into pieces.

He said the 17 trainees who had been recruited only recently by the Air Foce Special Force were on a sky-diving orientation exercise on April 8, 2009 over Sulaiman airbase in Bandung.

Nairiza said the 17 trainess were accompanied by 17 senior instructors who showed them how to jump and skydive by a parachute.

"The trainees were scheduled to make their first sky-diving execise on April 8, but they first have to carry out a sky-diving orientation," Nairiza said, adding that the process of orientation is aimed at identifying an aircraft, the position to jump and the way to leave the aircraft which were part of the orientation.

"During the orientation, the recruits were shown how to jump by the instructors because they would carry out the jumping exercise on April 8, 2009," he said.

The trainees were in the Fokker 27 as spectators only and observed their instructors to perform the techniques of sky-diving. "The instructors jumped while the trainees remained on board," he said.

The trainees have passed the sky-diving test and would receive a Wing after joining the flight for 80 hours had no problems in sky-diving.

Those with a good achievement in sky-diving, grouped in the 10 best students will be appointed as prospective instructors if their achievement is assessed as satisfactory.

The number of victims of the ill-fated Fokker 27 plane which crashed while landing and burst into flames were reported to reach 24 consisting of six crew members, an instructor and 17 paratroop trainees.

The six dead crew members ere identified as Captain I Gede Tirta (captain pilot), Second Lt Yanto (co-pilot), Second Lt Rahmat S, Sergeant Dadang, Second Sergeant Bahtiar and Second Sergeant Markarobet.

In the meantime, the names of the trainees killed in the plane crash were First Lt Wahyu, First Lt Dani, Second Lt Richi, Second Lt Erwan, First Class Private Didi, First Class Private Teguh, First Class Private Imron, First Class Private Ari, First Class Private Abdul Kadir, First Class Private Darmanto, First Class Private Danang, Second Class Private Didi, Second Class Private Ibnu, Second Class Private Heru, Second Class Private Erwin, Second Class Private Faisal and Second Class Private Dedi.

The accident has prompted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to instruct the military commander to order airworthiness checks on all military aircraft following Monday`s crash of an Air Force F-27 in Bandung, a spokesman said.

The president ordered the military (TNI) commander to check the airworthiness of all Air Force aircraft, presidential spokesman Andi Malarangeng said.

He said TNI Chief General Djoko Santoso had reported the accident to the President.
"President Yudhoyono offered his deepest condolences to the families of the Air Force personnel who died in the incident," he said.

Andi said the president had also ordered the TNI commander to investigate the accident that had killed 24 Air Force officers and enlisted men. (Eliswan Azly/ANTARA)

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