Garuda Crash Pilot Blames Faulty Flap

YOGYAKARTA ~ The pilot of a Garuda Indonesia jet that crashed in 2007, killing 21 people, blamed a faulty wing flap for the plane’s lethal air speed as it came in to land.

Wearing his pilot’s uniform despite having been sacked by the national carrier, Marwoto Komar also blamed runway safety oversights for the high death toll, as his trial for negligence resumed on Tuesday.

He is facing four years in jail for crashing the Boeing 737 as he attempted to land at Yogyakarta airport on March 7 two years ago.

“I tried to operate the airplane according to procedure but the conditions wouldn’t allow it. Maybe there was a failure. One of the wing flaps wasn’t functioning,” Komar told Sleman District Court.

“I wasn’t able to reduce the speed manually. I’d locked the speed at 180 knots but because the nose of the plane faced a bit downward the speed increased,” he said.

A report by an Indonesian safety committee found that Komar had ignored 15 automatic warnings that he was travelling too fast to land the jetliner.

He said many of the fatalities were caused not by his alleged negligence but by the failure of rescue teams to reach the scene quickly.

“They were late because there was no safety area along the runway. It was hard for the rescue unit to reach the area,” he said.

Filed under: The Nation

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