Mandala Airlines Flight 091

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Mandala Airlines Flight 091
PK-RIM Boeing B.737 Mandala (8392085316).jpg
PK-RIM, the aircraft involved in the crash.
Accident summary
Date 5 September 2005 (2005-09-05)
Summary Pilot error (failure to set flaps/slats properly)
Site Medan, Indonesia
Passengers 112
Crew 5
Injuries (non-fatal) 41 (including 26 on ground) [1]
Fatalities 149 (including 49 on ground)
Survivors 17
Aircraft type Boeing 737-230 Adv
Operator Mandala Airlines
Registration PK-RIM
Flight origin Polonia International Airport
Medan, Indonesia
1st stopover Soekarno-Hatta Int'l Airport
Jakarta, Indonesia
2nd stopover Adisumarmo International Airport
Surakarta, Indonesia
3rd stopover Adisucipto International Airport
Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Last stopover Juanda International Airport
Surabaya, Indonesia
Destination Ngurah Rai International Airport
Denpasar, Indonesia

Mandala Airlines Flight 091 was a scheduled domestic flight that originated from Polonia International Airport in Medan, Indonesia to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar via 4 Airports in Indonesia. On 5 September 2005 (10:15 a.m. UTC+7),[2] 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 49 people perished on the ground. 17 passengers survived the accident, with 100 of those on board known to have died.[3] 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.

Flight 091 is currently the third-deadliest aviation accident in Indonesia, after Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 and Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501.


All five crew members, 95 of the 112 passengers, and 49 people on the ground were killed. 15 of the 17 surviving passengers and 26 people on the ground were injured.[1]


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.[4]

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.

Notable passengers[edit]

Aircraft and airline[edit]


The aircraft, Boeing 737-230 Adv registration PK-RIM, was built in 1981 and formerly belonged to Lufthansa where it was registered as D-ABHK "Bayreuth" and was acquired by Mandala in 1994. The aircraft was 24 years old by the time of the accident. It had a Certificate of Airworthiness valid until November 2005.[5]

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).


Preliminary indications[edit]

Witnesses stated that the plane shook violently (possibly indicating a stall) and veered to the left shortly after take-off.[6]

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,[7] but later admitted that 2.7 tonnes were loaded.[8] The NTSC confirmed that 2 tonnes of durian were on board, but stated that overloading was not the cause of the accident.[7]

Official investigation[edit]

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:[9]

  • 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 system horn was not heard on the CAM channel of the CVR. It is possible that the take-off configuration warning was not sounding.

Similar incidents[edit]

Other accidents where the aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff, due to improper settings of flaps or slats, with parallel failure of the takeoff misconfiguration warning horn system, include Delta Air Lines Flight 1141, Spanair Flight 5022, Northwest Airlines Flight 255, and Lufthansa Flight 540.


  1. ^ a b NTSC final report, p.3
  2. ^ NTSC final report, p.2
  3. ^ "Aviation Safety Network". 
  4. ^ Richard Lloyd Parry (6 September 2005). "At least 149 die when jet crashes into city moments after take-off". The Times (London). Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. 
  5. ^ NTSC final report, p.7
  6. ^ Irwan Firdaus, Associated Press (5 September 2005). "Indonesian Airliner Crashes into City Killing 147". Sarasota Herald Tribune. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Misteri Durian 2 Ton di Mandala Airlines". Suara Merdeka (in Indonesian). 11 September 2005. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dirut Mandala Akui Angkut 2,7 Ton Durian". Suara Merdeka (in Indonesian). 28 September 2005. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report" (PDF). NTSC. p. 40. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 3°35′N 98°40′E / 3.583°N 98.667°E / 3.583; 98.667