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Engine failure could be behind Fokker crash
Publication Date : 23-06-2012
Engine failure could have been behind the crash of the military Fokker F-27 aircraft in East Jakarta on Thursday, which claimed 11 lives, according to an official.
Spokesman for the Indonesian Air Force, Air Commodore Azman Yunus, did not deny yesterday speculation that the failure of one of the Fokker’s two turboprop engines could have caused the incident.
“It is indeed a possibility,” he said, refusing to give more details.
Azman, however, insisted that the aircraft, which was procured by the Indonesian Air Force in 1977, had undergone regular checks and was airworthy despite its age.
Eyewitnesses near the crash site claimed that one of the Fokker’s engines was not working shortly before it crashed into a neighborhood in the vicinity of the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta on Thursday.
A military officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the engine could have intentionally been shut down as part of a routine single-engine exercise.
Officials from the Indonesian Military (TNI) previously said that the aircraft crew had been conducting a touch-and-go exercise before the crash.
Like most other military aircraft, the Fokker was not equipped with flight data recording equipment, also known a “black box”.
Azman said military investigators would go with other evidence, including eyewitnesses’ accounts, radio communications, wreckage, and testimonies of every individual involved in the flight.
“This explains why we have not allowed unauthorised individuals to go near the crash site, so that investigators have more room to work,” he said.
Azman said investigations into the crash would be wrapped up after three months and no results from the probe would be announced to the public.
The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), which is not authorised to probe incidents involving military aircraft, may also be asked for help, he added.
Earlier on Thursday, Azman Yunus said the turboprop Fokker F-27 aircraft was on a routine training mission at the base before the incident.
He said the training mission had included a local flight around the base, which included pattern, downwind and final-approach maneuvers.
An eyewitness said that the aircraft was flying very low over the Rajawali housing complex before it crashed into the houses.
The aircraft, with tail number A-2708, was part of the 2nd Squadron medium transport, which was stationed at the base. The 2nd Squadron also has a locally built CN-235 in its fleet.
Meanwhile early yesterday, one survivor from the crash passed away, increasing the death toll to 11 people.
The victim, Ochi Tumba Belorundung, passed away at 2:45 a.m. after receiving intensive care at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Hospital.
“She was the sister of Maj. Yohanis Tandi Sosang who lived at the Rajawali housing complex in East Jakarta, where the accident took place,” Azman said.
With his sister’s death, Yohanis lost four of his relatives, including his mother, Martina Ro’ren Sosang (previously reported as Yohanis’ wife), 60, his daughter (not his son as previously reported) Abrian Kristianbel, 7, and his nephew (not his niece as previously reported) who was also Ochi’s son, 2-year-old Nevli Tamen Randuallo.
Thursday’s accident was not the first for the military, which has been working on modernising its aging military equipment.
On April 6, 2009, another Fokker F-27, with tail number A-2703, crashed into a hangar when trying to land at an air base at Bandung’s Husein Sastranegara International Airport during heavy rain, killing 24 people.
The TNI has said that it is in the process of procuring nine Airbus Military CN-295s to replace its obsolete Fokker F-27s.