- Title: INDONESIA: Indonesia plane crash kills 23, scores escape.
- Date: 8th March 2007
- Summary: (BN11) YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA (MARCH 7, 2007) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF SARDJITO HOSPITAL HOSPITAL SIGN PEOPLE LOOKING AT NAMES OF VICTIMS NAMES ON BILLBOARD
- Reuters ID: LVA3J5UCXSJR9LIDEW7T4VQ8JMO8
- Location: Indonesia
- Country: Indonesia
- Duration: 00:00:16
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: An Indonesian passenger jet overshot the runway and burst into flames as it was landing in the cultural capital of Yogyakarta. Twenty-three were killed but most of the 140 people on board survived and managed to walked away from the burning plane. Dozens of passengers leapt from the national carrier Garuda Airline plane's emergency exits into surrounding rice paddy fields to escape the inferno, which reduced the aircraft to a smouldering wreck of twisted metal when it crashed on Wednesday (March 7).
Officials said twenty-three people, including two Australians, died in the crash. Earlier a provincial government official had put the death toll at 48, while Garuda had subsequently said it was 22.
Dramatic television footage taken just minutes after the plane crashed showed dazed passengers, some with blood on their faces, walking away from the burning plane.
GA 200 was a Boeing 737-400 plane carrying 133 passengers and seven crew when it crashed at around 7 a.m. (0000 GMT) after a scheduled flight from Jakarta.
Many of the injured were taken to a local hospital where names of passengers were posted outside.
Sugiarto, a security guard at the airport, described what he saw.
"I heard two explosions and I pulled four victims out of the plane and they were safe. About 30 people were also gathered outside the plane. They were safe too," said Sugiarto.
Survivors being treated at the hospital recounted the horror of the last few minutes of the flight.
"I felt like there was an empty vacuum in the plane. I heard a bump sound four times. Then it slammed to the ground. With the last bump there was smoke in the plane. We were jumping in the plane for almost 3 second. People were shouting and crying. People were running, trying to find a door and I also ran and jumped from plane," said Ronny Irwan whose left arm was in a sling.
Distraught relatives have been speaking to forensic examiners who have been sifting through belongings collected from the crash site.
Among those who visited the hospital was Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer who said up to five Australians were unaccounted for, after officials earlier said four were missing.
Downer and Australian Prime Minister John Howard said they had received no information that would suggest sabotage was a factor in the disaster.
"It looks like an accident. It looks like the plane just went...not terrorists," Downer said as he left a hospital in Yogyakarta. Earlier, Downer and some Australian officials were at the crash site.
Downer was quoted as saying that two survivors, both in the Australian air force, had told him the aircraft landed too fast.
As well as the Australians, Garuda's media office said the plane carried two Japanese, two Brunei nationals and seven other foreigners.
Plane wreckage were strewn all over the paddy field where the plane crashed. Rescue workers carrying body bags continued to remove bodies from the site.
Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the chief security minister to investigate "non-technical" matters related to the crash.
Yogyakarta, around 440 km (270 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta, is known as the cultural heart of Indonesia and is popular with tourists. Its Adi Sucipto airport is known for its relatively short runway.
Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said the plane, manufactured in 1992, had its last major inspection last month and had logged 34,960 flight hours.
Indonesia has suffered a string of transport accidents in recent months, including an Adam Air plane that disappeared in January with 102 passengers and crew on board, and a ferry sinking in late December in which hundreds died.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:23rd March 2007 12:00
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None