News / Asia

    Indonesia's Lion Air Crash Report Finds Procedure Review Needed

    • A Lion Air plane is seen in the water after it missed the runway in Denpasar, Bali in this picture provided by the Indonesian police, Apr. 13, 2013.
    • A passenger of a Lion Air plane that missed the runway at Bali's international airport receives treatment at Kasih Ibu hospital near Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 13, 2013.
    • A passenger of the Lion Air plane arrives for a treatment at Kasih Ibu hospital near Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 13, 2013.
    • The wreckage of a Lion Air Boeing 737 -800 airplane is seen in the water near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Apr. 14, 2013.
    • A rescue team swims beside the wreckage of a Lion Air plane near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 15, 2013.
    • The pilot whose Indonesian jet slumped into the sea while trying to land in Bali describes how he felt it "dragged" down by wind while he struggled to regain control, a person familiar with the matter said, Apr. 15, 2013.
    • Members of a rescue team walk on a breakwater near the wreckage of a Lion Air plane near Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali, Apr. 15, 2013.
    Reuters
    Investigators have raised questions over training and cockpit procedures at Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air after a preliminary report into a crash last month off Bali found the captain was not at the controls at a “critical time”.
        
    The National Transportation Safety Committee said in a report that Lion Air should immediately review or reinforce a number of safety measures related to landing procedures carried out by pilots.
        
    However, it did not say how it had arrived at the preliminary conclusions from a sample of evidence compiled from “black box” flight data and cockpit voice recordings.
        
    All 108 passengers and crew survived when the passenger jet undershot the tourist island's main airport runway and belly-flopped into the water.
        
    The report, released late on Tuesday, did not give an exact cause of the crash, but ruled out any major problems with the almost brand-new Boeing 737-800 passenger jet.
        
    Weather reports indicated that there was a sudden loss of visibility in the area, it said, adding the second-in-command was in charge seconds before the plane crashed into the sea just before the runway.
        
    Lion Air's co-founder Rusdi Kirana said he would respect the outcome of the investigation, but voiced dismay at the interim recommendations which were directed solely at the airline.
        
    “If our pilots make mistakes we are not scared to admit it, but we are not happy just blaming the pilots without proof,” he told Reuters. “It is important not to give people the impression that we don't have proper procedures. We take safety seriously, we are a profitable airline and we are not going to limit our budget on training and maintenance.”
        
    The cause of the crash has potential implications for the reputation of one of the world's fastest-growing airlines, which is fighting to be removed from a European Union safety blacklist even as it buys record volumes of Airbus and Boeing jets.
        
    Indonesia has also failed the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards for aircraft operations and maintenance, and as a result American regulators have imposed restrictions on them starting or increasing flights to the United States.
        
    Critical time
      
    The preliminary report said that the 24-year-old second-in-command, who had 1,200 hours of flying experience, was in control during the descent into the airport and reported that he could not see the runway 900 feet above ground.
        
    The captain switched off the auto-pilot and the second-in-command handed over controls to him at 150 feet - or 1 minute, 6 seconds before the crash - after saying he again could not see the runway.
        
    One second before the crash and with 20 feet separating the aircraft and the water, the pilot commanded a “go-around” and attempted to abort the landing, but the plane hit the water.
        
    The report recommended Lion Air “review the policy and procedures regarding the risk associated with changeover of control at critical altitudes or critical time.”
        
    It added the fast-growing airline should also “ensure the pilots are properly trained” on this subject.
        
    The airline said standard aviation practice allowed pilots to change control at any time at the crew's discretion.
        
    It defended its standard procedures for aborting a landing and said these had last been reviewed in March last year.
        
    A person familiar with the matter told Reuters last month that the pilot had described how he felt the 737-800 passenger jet being “dragged” down by wind while he struggled to regain control.
        
    The NTSC report said that the navigational aids and approach guidance facilities such as the runway lights at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport were all “functioning properly” at the time of the crash.
        
    It did not address whether these facilities should include an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
        
    Industry experts say such a feature is common at airports worldwide to help pilots keep to the right descent path. Bali does not have an ILS for planes landing from the West.
        
    The report also did not address whether the jet may have been subject to wind shear or dangerous gusts of wind. Airport officials have told Reuters some of the airports at Asia's best known holiday spots do not have wind shear detectors.
        
    The NTSC said it expected to release its final report within the next 12 months.
        
    Founded by two brothers and travel entrepreneurs, Lion Air has been growing at a record pace to keep up with one of the region's star economies. Earlier this year, it signed a deal with Europe's Airbus for 234 passenger jets worth $24 billion. Two years ago, it signed a deal with Boeing for 230 planes.
        
    At the same time, however, Indonesia has been struggling to improve its civil air safety after a string of deadly accidents.
        
    In 2007, Lion Air was among a number of Indonesian airlines banned by the EU for lax safety standards.
        
    The ban was progressively lifted, starting in 2009, but although it has had one fatal accident, Lion Air remains on the EU's banned list - a predicament it has dismissed as unfair.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora