Fri, Feb 29, 2008
Was Presented With Ultimatum, Says Attorney
The first Indonesian
airline pilot to face criminal charges related to an airliner
accident has now also lost his job. An attorney for Captain Marwoto
Komar says his client was presented with a choice to either resign
as a captain for Garuda Indonesia Airlines, or be fired.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald says Komar will be charged
with negligence for his role the March 7, 2007 crash in Yogyakarta.
As ANN reported,
investigators determined Komar became "fixated" with landing, and
ignored 15 alarms and verbal warnings from his co-pilot, warning he
was too fast on final approach.
Komar now is free on bail, after his arrest earlier this
month. His arrest was a controversial move in the
eyes of several international pilot groups, which feared
Komar's arrest sets a dangerous precedent, and opens the
door for other commercial pilots to be held criminally liable
Indonesian authorities may have felt pressured to make an
example of the pilot in response to worldwide pressure to improve
the country's abysmal airline industry safety record. But aviation
regulators worldwide urged Indonesia to reconsider, saying criminal
charges for pilots will only suppress reporting of safety issues in
To be fair, there seems to have been lots of negligence to go
around in this case.
After the airliner
flown by Komar touched down at 255 knots, it overshot the end of
the runway -- which was too short for the plane under international
standards. It also came to light that Komar may have resisted his
co-pilot's pleas to abort the landing because he was paid a bonus
by Garuda for conserving fuel.
And after the plane came to a stop in a rice field 300 feet past
the end of the runway and exploded in flames, the airport's
firefighting equipment reportedly took an hour to reach it and
extinguish the blaze.
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