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Indonesian pilot: Jammed steering led to '07 crash

Indonesian pilot: Jammed steering led to '07 crash

The pilot of a jetliner that crashed in Indonesia in 2007 testified Tuesday that mechanical problems were to blame for the accident that killed 21 people.
Capt. Marwoto Komar _ who is on trial accused of criminal negligence and faces up to five years behind bars _ was approaching the Yogyakarta airport runway at almost twice the usual speed when his Garuda Boeing 737-400 careened into a rice paddy and burst into flames.
Though an investigation found that he ignored 15 automated cockpit warnings not to land and calls by his co-pilot to circle around again, Komar told the Sleman District Court he did all he could to land the plane safely.
The 22-year career pilot said he knew the jetliner was coming in too steeply, causing it "to rapidly accelerate," but when he turned off the automatic pilot and tried to pull up the nose manually, it did not respond.
"I did all I could," said Komar, who was among 118 people to survive the March 7, 2007, crash, many with severe burns. Among the dead and injured were Australian diplomats, police, military personnel and journalists.
"No pilot wants to crash," he told the court with tears in his eyes.
It was the third in a string of jetliner accidents that prompted foreign governments to issue warnings about the country's air safety standards. The European Union has blacklisted all Indonesian airlines from arriving in any of its member nations.
On Monday, a Lion Air plane skidded on the runway in rainy weather in the capital Jakarta, but no one was hurt. The Transport Ministry has ordered Lion to ground its five MD-90 planes while they look into yesterday's incident.


Updated : 2021-02-26 00:43 GMT+08:00