Plane crash toll rises to 23 By Michael Casey in Jakarta December 1, 2004
A LION Air passenger plane skidded off the runway in central Indonesia today, killing at least 23 people and injuring 62, witnesses and hospital officials said.
The accident occurred around 6pm local time (10pm AEDT last night) as Flight JT583 landed in heavy rain at the Adi Sumarmo airport in Solo, a thriving tourist town about 500km southeast of the capital Jakarta, the airline confirmed.
The MD-82 plane had taken off from Jakarta with more than 146 passengers and seven crew members aboard, airport officials said. It stopped in the East Java town of Surabaya before heading to Solo where it skidded off the runway, broke in two and ended up in a cemetery next to the airport, airport officials said.
The airplane came to rest about 100m off the runway.
"The plane hit the tarmac and we all started yelling Allahu akbar (God is Great)," one passenger told Metro TV. "I grabbed a woman near me and just tried to reach (the) emergency exit. Everyone around me was screaming."
Solo Police Chief Abdul Madjid told reporters that 23 people were
killed and at least 62 injured from the crash.
Among them was a Singaporean woman and three children, hospital
Firefighters and police officers were searching for survivors and removing the injured to waiting ambulances, media reports said. Many were still in the plane nearly three hours after the crash, stuck inside the wreckage, media reports said.
Metro TV showed a chaotic scene at the airport, with dead and injured passengers lying on the terminal floor and crying relatives searching for news of their loved ones. The plane was sitting in darkness.
"My plane crashed. My plane crashed," one passenger screamed into a cell phone. "I've lost everything."
Lion Air spokesman Hasyim confirmed the crash and offered condolences to the dead and injured. But he said it was unclear what caused the accident, saying it would take a thorough investigation.
Earlier in the day, a passenger plane owned by low-budget Bouraq airlines skidded off the runway in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar, news reports said. No one was injured.
Indonesia is an archipelagic nation with about 3000 inhabited islands stretching across 5000 kilometres.
Previously, travel by slow boat was the only affordable option for most of its 210 million people - who earn an average of $US4 ($5.11) a day - due to decades of steep fares set by the state-owned airlines under former dictator Suharto.
But when President Suharto's rule ended in 1998 amid the regional economic crisis, the newly elected government quickly deregulated the airline industry.
Since 1999, the number of carriers has jumped to 25, and the resulting price war has allowed many working-class people to afford air travel for the first time. But the rapid expansion has raised some safety concerns, since many of the airlines are small and lease planes that are decades old.
Lion Air - one of several new no-frills airlines in Asia - has been one of the newest stars in Indonesian skies. It remains unclear how the crash will impact on its bold expansion plans.
The airline announced earlier this month that it was leasing the little-used Halim Perdanakusma airport in Jakarta, purchasing more than 25 new planes and adding new routes.
Mandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 1677 posts, RR: 52 Reply: 14
Posted Tue Nov 30 2004 18:01:36 UTC+1 and read 323 times:
OK, death toll now up to 31...
F/O is from Aruba just FYI...
Some witnesses now saying aircraft landed 1/2 way down the runway. Conflicting reports saying that it initiated a Go-Around too late and aircraft touched down and you know the rest...
BTW, Solo is NOT a thriving tourist town... they just got a bigger airport than Jogjakarta, where everyone go to... Only Silk Air (2x weekly), Lion (3x daily) and Garuda (3x daily) fly to Solo... Unlike JOG, which is quite busy with everyone.
Lion flies 19 MD82s on one of the last counts, and 2 734s... Subsidiary Wings fly 3 DHC-8-300s... Rumours say they got 5.
They blew 1 DHC8 engine a couple of years back. Their 732 crashed and got written off a couple of years back (2001?)
Their MD82s have problems... Rear airstairs keep falling down according to secondary sources. Lion has slipped many times off the runway here but the news normally gets covered up. This time, they can't... Plus one Lion engineer has been rumoured to refuse to fly on Lion due to their "maintenance policy"... Plus Lion lost their FedEx contract a while back due to failures in safety and security procedures.
This is an airline with many sins... Pilots fly 120hrs a month but only log 90... You don't land due to weather and expect the CEO to call you on your cellphone asking you to get your butt to the destination regardless of weather... etc etc etc... These are undocumentable events unfortunately, but go and take a couple of Lion guys to a bar, buy them drinks, and what comes out of their mouths sound like a real nightmare.
This is just an accident waiting to happen.
N754PR: When you look at all the old junk flying around in Indonesia and airlines starting left, right and center you have to wonder how this did not happen before.
Well, not the other airlines... There are some which are waiting to make a smoking hole in the ground, but mostly are safe, regardless of their aged fleet... Lion unfortunately are one of the few, and is the largest of that "few" I avoid.
Whoa there Compressor Stall getting a bit paranoid there..I worked in Indonesia for a while and was made quite welcome and didn't detect any sort of racism towards myself apart from recognition that I was a foriegner. However I am a Kiwi, not an Aussie and we tend to be a little better recieved in Indonesia. Possibly because we are less heard of politicly or perhaps just a little more polite and less demanding. I recieved more jabs and remarks about my origin when working in Australia than I ever did with Indonesians who never once called me a sheep shagger. I guess when you are a foreigner in another country you just need to accept that you are just that, a foriegner and I am sure that if, say an Indonesian, were to be crewing an Aussie aircraft that had hit the headlines as a result of an accident there would also be mention of the pilots nationality. Lion was just starting up when I was there and was in rapid expansion mode and appeared to have a bright future if they did things properly.
This company has received a lot of (negative) coverage on the Far East forum. They are apparently willing to hire almost anyone as pilots, regardless of experience, but pay a miserable salary, and expect you to pay for items traditionally provided by the employer, eg. uniform. As a result, some pilots see Lion Air as a "stepping stone" - hoping to gain some experience there, before moving on to better employment.
It should be obvious that an employer who cannot afford to supply his pilots with the company uniform, is more than likely cutting costs everywhere else as well - especially necessary MAINTENANCE!!
Another new operator in Singapore - TIGER AIRWAYS - is in a similarly financially strapped position of not being able to afford to pay for their pilots' uniforms, nor crew meals!!
Worldwide, the profession of pilot has undergone a concerted attack for just over 15 years now, with the main thrust of the attack being that pilots are nothing more than computer operators, and that just about anyone can fly an aircraft these days. Resultantly, the experience levels in airline aircraft have dropped dramatically, as airline management have become less concerned with Safety and more concerned with reducing operating costs to as low a level as they can........."You don't land due to weather and expect the CEO to call you on your cellphone asking you to get your butt to the destination regardless of weather"
I tend to think that there are probably several young Australian pilots flying in Lion Air, hoping to get their experience levels up and get out, before being killed. I wonder if the F/O really was from Aruba, as that country is to aircraft what Liberia was to ships - a country of "convenience". A licence from Aruba is likely to be a dodgy one.
So, with the profession of pilot, and consequently Safety levels, now having been eroded for some time, the chickens are starting to come home to roost, and the management that have made these decisions must be willing to accept the REAL COSTS - the damaged/destroyed aircraft, and the subsequent deaths and injuries on a large scale each time.
Seeing that this is a public forum, where the opinion of the public is supposed to be respected. But in this case I must say that i have completely no respect for the last remark made by kaptin M. "The Aruba license is a dodgy License"??????? My dear friend...I have been flying Md-80's long enough now and posses more licenses than a normal pilot would ever require to have. One of these licenses include the Aruba license. Prior to opening your mouth about what or how a license is, why don't you try to get it your self. You may be right about Aruba being convenient for aircraft registration, but to obtain an Aruban license is a complete different story. The Aruban pilot involved in this is one of the best pilots I've known. I have flown with him on several ocasions. He didn't need lion as a stepping stone...He needed Lion as a source of income because Air Aruba closed down, and there are no other airlines in that region now. Same for me, i am in Indonesia in order to survive. Not to make a career. So please next time, have a little respect and THINK before you write something down will you?
Some remarkable similarities are emerging between these two. From a previous posting on this forum, asking about Lion Air's financial capabilities..
The applicant responsible to: 1. Pay the training cost including PC 2. Insurance and Medical treatment 3. Provide them self: uniform White short sleeve shirt and dark blue trouser
(we provide them: tie, wings, bar and hat) Yes.....
and from Tiger Airways website (http://www.tigerairways.com/)..
To encourage crewmembers to take care of their uniform, crew will have a small deduction, over three months, from their salary as a contribution towards the cost of providing the uniform. Two weeks leave a year can be bid for. Leave beyond that will be assigned to manage FTLs. Your Initial Contract Before commencing employment, you will receive for your signature your contract and specific terms and conditions. Your initial contract will be for three years, renewable by mutual agreement.
The remuneration under the contract will become available once pilots are the holders of a Singaporean Professional Flight Crew Licence, endorsed with an A320 family rating and an Instrument Rating. To keep administration costs to a minimum, our approach is that we simply provide you with a monthly salary and leave it to you to decide what expenses are appropriate to your circumstances.
IMO, airlines that indicate they can't AFFORD to be financially responsible for providing the very BASIC of costs (eg crew uniforms and meals), from the outset, should NOT be allowed to commence operations, as their SAFETY record has to be suspect. If they can't afford items such as shirts, how can they afford to pay for expensive, NECESSARY aircraft MAINTENANCE??!!
(I don't mean any disrespect, just being honest here)
if you mean that old plane/cemetery joke, yes, i am ashamed to admit i did think that..... but only because at first i thought it was another radio station wind-up... the report they gave was so vague i thought it was another joke by the station's resident 'pilot-comedian'.....
On a more serious note, condolences to the families and survivors..... I know what you're feeling, and if this turns out to be due to negligent maintenance..... i think cutting costs at risk of lives is reprehensible.....
In its report on last year's crash of a Lion Air MD-82 at Adi Sumarmo International Airport in Surakarta, Central Java, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the accident was due to water accumulating on the runway following heavy rain, which led to the plane skidding off the tarmac.
"After conducting an investigation, we concluded that the plane experienced hydroplaning, a condition where the amount of water on the runway makes it slippery like ice," said NTSB investigator-in-charge Ertata Lananggalih.
Flying from Jakarta, the Lion Air McDonnel-Douglas MD-82 plane skidded off the slippery runway after landing at the airport on Nov. 30, 2004. It then crashed into a concrete structure that tore the front part of the aircraft's body open before it came to a halt after slamming into the metal fence of a nearby cemetery. A total of 26 people died in the accident and 56 others were injured.
Ertata said that there were more than three millimeters of water on the runway at the time the plane landed.
He explained that the accumulation of such excessive water could have been caused by the blockage of a drainage channel. However, an audit of Adi Sumarmo airport failed to reveal any drainage problems.
Besides the slippery runway, the accident was also contributed to by a strong tailwind and the fact that the plane's spoiler and reverser had jammed a few seconds after landing.
The spoiler and reverser are components that help slow down a plane after landing. The malfunctioning of these two parts hampered the deceleration of the plane.
A strong tailwind of 13 knots prolonged the skid.
"One knot of tailwind requires 60 more meters of runway," said Ertata. The length of the runway at Adi Sumarmo International Airport is 2500 meters.
The Lion Air accident prompting the transportation ministry to audit 23 international airports in the country.
Seventeen of the audited airports -- including Adi Sumarmo International Airport -- had problems related to runway rubber deposits on their touchdown areas, while 12 of the 23 airports did not have the additional 500 meters of runway required as an additional safety measure.
The ministry has issued binding recommendations for the upgrading of these airports.
Other problems affecting airport runways were water accumulation, large and small cracks, and faded runway markings.
The only airport given a completely clean bill of health was Pattimura International Airport in Maluku.
Meanwhile, the ministry's Director of Air Transportation Cucuk Suryo Suprodjo said that during a previous audit conducted before last year's Idul Fitri holiday, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, west of Jakarta, was also found to be free of any major problems.
The accident prompted the ministry to conduct a safety audit on 11 airlines, including airline management, company procedures, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew licenses and operational procedures.
The results revealed that most of the airlines followed the regulations but each had certain specific areas of concern that needed follow-up. (003)