Concern as Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot arrested and charged

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Indonesian pilot Marwoto Komar has been arrested over a crash he was involved in. Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 was a Boeing 737 that shot off the runway at Yogyakarta International Airport on March 7 last year, killing 21.

The final report into the disaster blamed pilot error for the crash, which killed several Australian journalists following a visit by their foreign minister as well as Indonesian nationals. The investigation determined that Komar was responsible, having brought the plane in at almost double the safe landing speed. He attempted a landing at 408 kph (254 mph), which is 160 kph (100 mph) above the safe speed. The plane overshot the runway, coming to rest in a rice field where it caught fire.

On Monday, Komar was arrested. He has been charged with manslaughter over the crash, and if convicted could face five years imprisonment. However, the London-based International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) commented that they were "saddened" to hear the news.

IFALPA contends that further investigations are needed into the crash, and that criminal proceedings could prevent an accurate version of events from ever being known.

A statement was released that read as follows: "The Federation expects that Capt. Komar will be released ... as he has agreed to fully cooperate with the police investigation and clearly poses no danger to society. He remains a professional who was involved in an unfortunate tragedy."