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Another Week, Another Crash

21/05/2009

A very cynical title yes, but unfortunately not terribly far from the truth. Yesterday another Indonesian Air Force C-130 crashed, this time in East Java.

Today the Jakarta Post has a short article with some more details and sadly in typical fashion there does seem to be the usual weather excuse rolled out.

As we know, the weathers, either in the air, land or sea, have become more unpredictable now along with the climate change, Djoko told reporters after reporting the accident to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Presidential Palace.

Looking at the images on TV shortly after the accident it was abundantly clear that weather was unlikely to have been a factor, it was in fact a stunning day in the Madiun area. The article in the Jakarta Globe has an eyewitness report which was reported on the TV news also.

It was not clear what caused the crash, but air force spokesman Bambang Sulistyo said the plane was nearly 30 years old and several witnesses described seeing its right wing fall off while it was still in the air.

“I heard at least two big explosions and saw flashes of fire inside the plane,” said Lamidi, a 41-year-old peasant who was working in a nearby rice field. “The wing snapped off and fell to the ground.”

The frequency of crashes in this country means that eventually you will know someone affected and in this case the brother of one of our engineers was on board. He was the Commander of the Biak Air Force Base and according to the Jakarta Post his family was also on board. The engineer was here in Papua so he quickly came back to the house and got a ticket to fly to Jakarta to be with the rest of his family. Certainly we all feel for him in what is such a tragic loss.

It will be interesting to see what action the Government takes over this crash, there is clearly something not right in the Air Force when 3 aircraft have crashed in a 2 month window. After a Hercules losing its landing gear on approach to Wamena the other week the Air Force has started extra checks on the Hercules fleet and were also scrutinising the Singaporean maintenance organisation that is refurbishing the fleet.

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