Garuda Indonesia Crash! Blamed on Broken Tire?

A Garuda Indonesia plane, which flies from Jakarta to Jogjakarta burst into flames at 7.00 a.m. on March 7, a few minutes after landing at Adisucipto Airport, Jogjakarta.

There were 133 passengers onboard (120 people in economy and 13 in business class) and seven aircrew. According to some sources and witnesses, tens of them were burnt near the cockpit of the Boeing 737-400. Three hours after the incident, the airport officers were still spraying water into the airplane’s body to reduce the heat and enable them to remove the dead from inside the aircraft.

Minister of Transportation Hatta Radjasa said that according to Garuda Indonesia’s director Emirsyah Satar, 76 people survived and are receiving medical treatment in several hospitals spread around Jogjakarta. The fate of the other 57 onboard remained uncertain but preliminary reports suggest that they all died in the fire.

But other sources said that more than 100 people on board had survived and went to different hospitals to get medical treatment. Most of them have burns and the victims who suffer serious burn have been sent to Dr. Sardjito Hospital, the biggest hospital in Jogjakarta, which has the best equipment to handle the victims. As yet Garuda Indonesia has not announced the passenger manifest.

Pudjobroto, head of public relation of Garuda Indonesia, explained the plane with flight number GA-200 took off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta at 6.00 a.m. and arrived at Adisucipto Airport at 6.55 a.m. A few minutes after landing, the plane which was flown by Pilot Marwoto Komar, could not be stopped because a tire had broken. The plane slipped outside the runway lane and then hit the gate of the airport area before slipping into a ditch. After that, it suddenly caught fire.

The passengers are reported to include Din Syamsudin, chairman of Muhammadiyah, the second biggest Indonesian Muslim organization, Mahfud MD, a member of the house of parliament, and several Australian government officers. All of them were due to attend the meeting between Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Jogjakarta’s governor. Downer had been scheduled to speak with Din Syamsudin in Muhammadiyah University in Jogjakarta. All the meetings have been canceled because of the accident.

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