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An Uneventful Accident

15/06/2009

UPDATE: News reports seem to be focussing on the fact that a dog was running across the runway at the time. The reality is that this is a very common occurence in Papua. Based on what the Captain said I’m not about to believe that he intended to sacrifice a $20 million aeroplane for the sack of a mangy dog. Typical poor reporting on aviation by the media.

Believe me such a benign title is a rare occurrence in Indonesia. Truth be told its not that uneventful given it would have shaken up the crew, passengers and indeed the airline but in an Indonesian context an accident with no deaths or injuries is something to be celebrated.

The accident aircraft

The accident aircraft

Our office was called by the accident airline just before lunch and we were put on standby to fly staff from the airline and the NTSC Air Safety Investigator. Just after lunch we were ready to go for the 1.5 hour flight to the accident airport. Wouldn’t you know it as we flew overhead the batteries in my camera decided that was the opportune time to give up.

The aircraft was about 500m down and 5m or so off the side of the runway. While the wing was not protruding into the runway caution was required. The Caravan of course can be landed in a much shorter distance but given I have just got back from holiday I was happy for the Captain to land.

Once we parked on the apron and gave our passengers a time deadline we walked down the runway to have a look at the accident site where the Police were doing a good job of keeping curious locals away. It was soon apparent as you can see in the photo above that there had been a pretty catastrophic failure of the propeller. My phone has a 1 mega-pixel camera in it so I was able to take a few snaps obviously, more for interests sake as someone who is involved in safety. But you do feel a bit voyeuristic when the crew are there.

Track marks through the mud

Track marks through the mud

We took a walk up the runway to have a look at the tyre marks and also do a close-up visual inspection in case there was any lingering FOD. Its really hot on the flatlands so it didn’t take long at all to work up a sweat and need some water so we headed back to our aircraft. The recorders had been pulled and as briefed our passengers plus crew from the accident aircraft were ready to head back to Sentani.

We were able to have a quick chat to the Captain who had a long flying career under his belt. In this case it does seem pretty clear that there was a mechanical failure after touchdown on landing which lead to control difficulties. The crew did a wonderful job, the job expected really and dealt with the situation. The reality is that incidents and accidents happen and that must be accepted. Our role in the industry as a whole is to minimise the risk and always strive to do so.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. k.poulsen permalink
    26/06/2009 04:18

    Could you please send me a private e-mail, like to hear more.I fly the dornier
    karimunjava@hotmail.com

    • kiwikurt permalink
      26/06/2009 09:54

      Sorry I don’t have anymore info over what I wrote.

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