Mandala Airlines Flight 091
Location of Medan in Indonesia.
|Date||5 September 2005|
|Summary||Pilot error (failure to set flaps/slats properly)|
|Fatalities||149 (including 49 on ground)|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-230Adv|
|Flight origin||Polonia International Airport
|Destination||Soekarno-Hatta Int'l Airport
Mandala Airlines Flight 091 was a scheduled domestic flight that originated from Polonia International Airport in Medan, Indonesia to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. On 5 September 2005 (10:06 a.m. UTC+7), the flight crashed into a heavily populated residential area seconds after taking off in Medan. There were 149 fatalities.
Dozens of houses and cars were destroyed, and at least 49 people are reported to have perished on the ground. Later it was reported that 17 passengers survived the accident, with 100 of those on board known to have died, including three babies. Most of the survivors are thought to have been seated at the rear of the aircraft, though some have reportedly since died from their injuries. Most of the dead were Indonesian, although at least one Malaysian, Ti Teow Chuan from Sabah, was reported dead. Rizal Nurdin, the governor of North Sumatra at the time, and Raja Inal Siregar, the former governor, were among the dead.
The crash was the sixth major incident involving commercial airliners from August 1, 2005 to the date of the incident. The others were, in chronological order: Air France Flight 358; Tuninter Flight 1153; Helios Airways Flight 522 crash, killing 121 in Greece; West Caribbean Airways Flight 708's crash in Venezuela, killing 160; and TANS Peru Flight 204, killing 41 out of 100 people on board when it crashed in Peru.
Flight 091 has the second highest death toll of any aviation accident in Indonesia after Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 and the highest death toll of any accident ever involving a Boeing 737-200.
A passenger named Rohadi Sitepu told Metro TV from hospital that he and five other people seated in the back of the plane in Row 20 had all survived. "There was the sound of an explosion in the front and there was fire and then the aircraft fell," he said. Rohadi said he escaped the blazing wreck by jumping through the torn fuselage and fleeing on foot as four large explosions erupted behind him.
Another survivor, Freddy Ismail, told Elshinta Radio from his hospital bed that the aircraft seemed to be experiencing mechanical difficulties after take-off. "After take-off, the noise of the engine suddenly became very loud and the aircraft began shaking intensely before it suddenly fell," he said.
Nationalities of the passengers and crew
In addition to the above, there were forty-nine casualties on the ground.
Aircraft and airline
The aircraft, registration PK-RIM, was built in 1981 and formerly belonged to Lufthansa where it was registered as D-ABHK "Bayreuth". The aircraft had passed extensive safety tests in June and should have been airworthy until at least 2013.
Mandala Airlines was established in 1969 and is one of several low-cost airlines that serve the vast Indonesian archipelago. At the time of the accident it was 90-percent owned by a foundation set up by the Indonesian Army strategic reserve Kostrad (Komando Strategis Angkatan Darat). In 2006 it was acquired by Cardig International and Indigo Partners. It has 1,000 employees (at March 2007).
Observers reported smelling durian fruit in the crash, leading to suggestions that the plane was overloaded with the prized fruit. The director of the airline initially denied that durian was on board, but later admitted that 2.7 tonnes were loaded. The NTSC confirmed that 2 tonnes of durian were on board, but stated that overloading was not the cause of the accident.
The official final report on the accident was released by the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) of Indonesia on 1 January 2009. According to it the probable causes of the accident were the following:
- The aircraft took off with improper take-off configuration, namely with retracted flaps and slats causing the aircraft failed (sic) to lift off.
- Improper checklist procedure execution had led to failure to identify the flap in retract position.
- The aircraft’s take-off warning horn was not heard on the CAM channel of the CVR. It is possible that the take-off configuration warning horn was not sounding.
Other accidents where the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, due to improper settings of flaps/slats, with parallel failure of the takeoff misconfiguration warning horn system:
- "Aviation Safety Network".
- Richard Lloyd Parry (September 6, 2005). "At least 149 die when jet crashes into city moments after take-off". The Times (London). Archived from the original on 2011-06-04.
- Irwan Firdaus, Associated Press (September 5, 2005). "Indonesian Airliner Crashes Into City Killing 147". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Misteri Durian 2 Ton di Mandala Airlines". Suara Merdeka (in Indonesian). September 11, 2005. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Dirut Mandala Akui Angkut 2,7 Ton Durian". Suara Merdeka (in Indonesian). September 28, 2005. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Aircraft Accident Report". NTSC. p. 40.
|Wikinews has related news: Jetliner crashes in Indonesia|
- Final Report (Archive) - National Transportation Safety Committee
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- Accident description on planecrashinfo
- Photograph of the wreckage PK-RIM. From Airliners.net. Retrieved 2010-01-23.