22 Die, 118 Survive Java Air Crash

March 7, 2007

118 people miraculously escaped the flaming wreck of a Garuda Airlines Boeing 737-400, which slid off the runway at Yogyakarta airport in Java while landing. 22 people, however, died in the crash.

According to news reports, survivors said the plane came in too fast on its runway approach. There were also reports that the front wheel had caught fire, which spread to the front of the aircraft, and that one of the its engines had at least partially broken off from its supports.

The flight from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, carried a number of Australian passengers, mainly diplomatic and media personnel, who were accompanying Australia’s Foreign Affairs minister and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock on an official visit. A least five of them survived the crash.

Although there appears to be no evidence of sabotage, authorities, who are investigating the cause of the crash, have not ruled out the possibility.

This latest disaster has again put the spotlight on Indonesia’s transportation safety record. On January 1 an Adam Air Boeing 737-400 carrying 102 passengers and crew disappeared from radar screens. It was first reported to have crashed into a mountain, but the plane’s wreckage was finally discovered 10 days later at sea.

According to the BBC, “Indonesia recorded an incident involving aircraft “every nine to 10 days – planes that crashed, almost crashed, missed the runway, were forced into emergency landing or had technical problems.”

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