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Indonesia Crash Report Blames Pilot


The Indonesian government says the pilot in a fiery plane crash earlier this year ignored repeated warnings to abandon his landing attempt. The March 7th accident in Central Java claimed 21 lives. Trish Anderton reports from Jakarta.

The report from Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee, issued Monday, says the pilot of the Garuda plane tried to land, despite 15 warning alarms and his copilot's calls to abort the attempt.

It also finds the plane was traveling faster and descending more sharply than normal. The plane skidded across the Yogyakarta runway into a rice field and burst into flames.

Peter Gibson of Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority says pulling out of a landing if you are having problems is one of the essential rules every pilot learns.

"You must have a stabilized approach and that means, literally, the aircraft is configured for landing, and everything is proceeding smoothly, and if anything is giving the pilot concern, the training says go around and do it again," said Gibson.

The report also called the airport's emergency plan less than effective, and said delays in putting out the fire may have contributed to the death toll.

Transport officials say the report is designed to help prevent future accidents.

But Danang Parikesit of the Indonesian Transportation Society says it should have made detailed recommendations on how to improve elements such as communications and emergency response.

"The report does not address specific intervention or specific measures that need to be carried out by those three most responsible organizations in airline safety: first, the government, second, the airport authority and the third is the airline company," said Parikesit.

The pilot and copilot survived the crash, and remain suspended from duty. The government says, by law, the report may not be used as part of any possible criminal case against the men.

The accident was the second major air crash in Indonesia this year. On New Year's Day, an Adam Air jetliner plunged into the sea off the island of Sulawesi, killing everyone aboard.

The United States has declared that Indonesia does not comply with international air safety standards. In June, the European Union banned all Indonesian airlines from its airspace.

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