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 Post subject: Even Garuda Airlines is no longer safe!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:33 pm 
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Flames engulf Indonesian jet, killing 49

By CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Writer

7 March, 2007

An Indonesian jetliner carrying 140 people burst into flames as it landed on Java island Wednesday, trapping a number of people inside the burning plane, the airline and witnesses said.

Prime Minister John Howard said Indonesian officials had confirmed 49 deaths, and that some Australians may be among them.

"It is a terrible tragedy," Howard told a nationally television news conference. "Many lives have been lost and our love and sympathy and condolences go to those who are suffering distress and grief."

The Garuda airlines jet shook violently as it prepared to land and then overshot the runway, hitting fences and slamming into a rice field shortly before 7 a.m., survivors said.

Many passengers escaped and rescuers battled flames to reach those trapped inside, said Capt. Ari Sapari, operations director of national carrier Garuda. The blaze, which gutted the aircraft and sent black smoke billowing into the air, took two hours to put out.

Howard said Indonesian officials had confirmed 49 deaths, though it was not clear where that information came from.

Laras Widhyo, from Garuda's Yogyakarta office, said at least 22 were killed and 92 were being treated at three hospitals, some with broken bones and burns. He said some passengers were thought to have walked away from the accident, making it difficult to confirm the death toll.

The state-owned airline said that 140 passengers and crew were on board. Howard said around 10 Australians were aboard the plane, but he could not confirm any Australian deaths.

The Australians on board were diplomatic staff and journalists who were traveling from the capital, Jakarta, ahead of Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, who had been due to attend a function later Wednesday. Neither official was aboard the stricken plane.

There was no immediate word on what sparked the blaze. Survivors said it began at the front the plane before engulfing the aircraft.

"Before the plane landed it was shaking. Suddenly there was smoke inside the fuselage, it hit the runway and then it landed in a rice field," local Islamic leader Dien Syamsudin told El-Shinta. "I saw a foreigner. His clothes were on fire and I jumped from the emergency exit. Thank God I survived."

BBC World television carried footage of raging flames poking through several windows of the passenger compartment.

Another survivor told local TV station RCTI TV that "before landing I felt the plane shake strongly."

"We overshot the runway, then I heard the sound of an explosion and ran through an emergency exit," continued passenger Muhammad Dimyati. "I believe many passengers remained trapped on board."

Indonesia has been hit by a string of transportation disasters in recent months. In late December, a passenger ferry sank in a storm in the Java Sea, killing more than 400 people.

Days later, a passenger plane operated by the budget airline Adam Air crashed into the ocean, killing all 102 people on board. A ship that sank near the capital's port left at least 50 dead.

The government responded by saying it would ban local commercial airlines from operating planes more than 10 years old, though most experts say maintenance and the number of takeoffs and landings are the most important factors in preventing accidents.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:41 pm 
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Location: Jakarta
Hhhhhh.... :( banyak bencana...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:34 am 
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Iya tuh, makanya sekarang kalo mau dive di luar Java start from Ancol aja dech pake tanki, ga usah terbang atau naik kapal. :lol:

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