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May 31, 2012

Indonesians retrieve missing recorder from crashed Russian jet

Indonesians retrieve missing recorder from crashed Russian jet

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

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Villagers assisting recovery efforts for a Russian passenger jet that crashed in Indonesia have found the aircraft’s missing flight data recorder. All 45 on board were killed when the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed during a demonstration flight earlier this month.

Sukhoi’s first-ever Superjet 100 on display, from file. Credit:Marina Lystseva

The cockpit voice recorder was found several days after the plane hit Mount Salak, West Java on May 9. A landslide triggered by the impact had concealed the flight data recorder, but it was uncovered today after recent rains removed some of the soil it was under. “It seems to be intact,” said Ketut Purwa, who is leading the recovery. It was sent to Jakarta for examination.

The recorder was found in a ravine 30 metres from the tail, which was also located by villagers. It contains a log of technical data from the 40-minute demonstration, which aimed to attract Indonesian airlines to buy Superjet 100s.

Tatang Kurniadi, head of the National Transportation Safety Committee, explained “The FDR emits a signal for up to a month but only if it’s underwater. It doesn’t work on land”. In addition to the Indonesian investigation, Russian authorities have launched a criminal probe. The dead include eight Russians. Kurniadi also said work to complete an Indonesian translation of the voice recorder transcript is nearing completion.

The aircraft had asked for permission to descend to 6,000 feet shortly before the crash. It then hit the 7,200-foot mountain near Jakarta. In the midst of an Asian tour, Sukhoi had placed an experienced pilot in charge of the plane.

The Superjet 100 is intended to reinvigorate the Russian aviation industry, and is the nation’s first new airliner since the Soviet era. With a maiden flight in 2008, it entered service last year and Sukhoi boasts 200 orders. The twin-engine jet seats around 100 and costs buyers US$31.7 million.



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May 10, 2012

Russian passenger jet crashes on Indonesian demonstration flight

Russian passenger jet crashes on Indonesian demonstration flight

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

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A plane built by Russia’s Sukhoi has crashed in Indonesia with around 50 people on board during a demonstration flight to potential customers. The Superjet 100 struck a cliff as it descended over mountains near Jakarta.

The aircraft departed Halim Perdanakusuma Airport at around 2pm local time yesterday and was due to return 50 minutes later. A search and rescue mission was dispatched to West Java, where the aircraft crashed in the Salak mountain range. Bad weather and nightfall initially hampered rescue efforts but a helicopter found the crash site after dawn.

Sukhoi’s first-ever Superjet 100 on display, from file. Credit:Marina Lystseva

Everything reportedly was normal that day on a preflight check and earlier demonstration flight. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today ordered an investigation into the accident, while Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today said “I expect that there will be a full and careful investigation”.

Those on board include journalists, Russian diplomats, and representatives of prospective customer airlines. The flight crew had requested permission for a descent from 10,000ft to 6,000ft shortly before contact was lost. It struck a 7,000ft mountain and the reason for the descent is not immediately apparent. The jet was touring Asia on a sales promotion with stops including Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos, Kazakhstan, and Burma.

With a maiden flight in 2008, several Superjet 100s are in service and Sukhoi boasts orders for about 200 more. The first newly-designed post-Soviet Russian airliner, a commercial offering by military planemaker Sukhoi, it seats around 100 and retails for US$31.7 million. This is cheaper than products from Canada; and Sukhoi has sought the services of Western firms including Thales of France and Finmeccanica of Italy, potentially mitigating safety fears about Soviet-era technology.

Sukhoi’s top test pilot, Alexander Yablontsev, and co-pilot Alexander Kochetkov reportedly were due to be at the controls of the crashed plane. The exact number on board is reported as being from 44 to 50. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft boss Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk said the flight carried eight, including technical staff, from Russia; two from Italy; and one each from France and the United States. The wreckage is in small pieces and, following unconfirmed reports saying bodies were seen, a search team reported no survivors found but several corpses.

So far, Aeroflot of Russia and Armavia of Armenia are the only airlines to have brought the jet into service. Mexico has recently given approval to the plane, allowing Western operator Interjet to join the Russian airlines before year’s end. Sukhoi hopes to scale up production, presently below planned levels, and already has firm deals in place in Asia including with Kartika Airlines of Indonesia.



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June 27, 2008

Indonesian military plane disappears

Indonesian military plane disappears – Wikinews, the free news source

Indonesian military plane disappears

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Friday, June 27, 2008

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A Casa-212 aircraft owned by the Indonesian air force disappeared while on a flight from the capital Jakarta to Bogor in West Java Friday morning.

The plane was carrying 12 Indonesian military personnel and 6 civilians including a British, Singaporean and Indian national.

The plane was tasked to test a new digital camera designed to conduct aerial mapping and topography.

The aircraft was last sighted on radar in the Salak moutain region on the main island of Java, 90 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the Indonesian capital.

The Indonesian military has deployed a search and rescue team in the area.

Authorities fear that the aircraft crashed in a densely forested area making any rescue difficult.

Air Force spokesman Chaeruddin Ray said the region was covered in thick fog and in a rough terrain.

Three planes and forty people were deployed into the region to look for the downed plane.

Indonesia has been plagued with several plane accidents resulting in a ban on the entry of Indonesian airlines into European airports. This is the second incident in Indonesian aviation involving a Casa-212. In January of 2008, a similar plane model owned by a private company also crashed.

The Casa-212 is a design by Spanish avionics company Construcciones Aeronáuticas, a turbo-prop plane designed for a short take-off and landing.

The Spanish company licensed an Indonesian avionics firm to assemble and manufacture this aircraft.



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August 17, 2006

Indonesian health officials investigating possible human to human transmission of H5N1 Bird Flu virus

Indonesian health officials investigating possible human to human transmission of H5N1 Bird Flu virus

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

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Indonesian Health officials are concerned that a 9-year-old girl who died of the H5N1 Avian Flu virus, contracted the illness as a result of human to human transmission and officials say a team of experts are on the way to the area to determine if a cluster exists.

“The tests were positive. She died of bird flu. A team left this morning to check if there is a cluster or not,” said Bird Flu Information Center scientist, Nurdin.

Ai Siti Amanah who lived in Garut, located in West Java died on August 15 before health officials were able to determine that she had the deadly virus and only one day after arriving for treatment at the hospital.

It is believed that the girl had contact with a 17-year-old male named Umar Aup from the same town who is infected with the virus , but health officials say he is recovering at a local hospital. He was diagnosed with the illness on August 12. Another boy named Misbah, 20, cousin of Aup died earlier in August and was not tested for the disease but officials say he was exhibiting signs of the illness.

Supari Indonesia’s health minister stated that tests will be done on the two subjects to determine the origin and the “exact type of the virus.”

Three months ago, seven family members died when they contracted the virus through human to human transmission.

So far, 46 people have died from the virus in Indonesia.

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July 21, 2006

Indonesia\’s president visits victims of tsunami

Indonesia’s president visits victims of tsunami

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Map showing location of earthquake

Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, visited the area worst hit by the tsunami that struck the Indonesian island of Java Monday afternoon. Mr Yudhoyono toured the small town of Pangandaran meeting people who were staying in a temporary camp. Many of them are too scared to return home after the huge wave killed nearly 550 people. The tsunami was produced by an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale.

At the camp, Mr Yudhoyono told one woman to “be strong”. According to a relief worker, about 3,000 people have taken refuge at the site, but only about 500 of them have lost their homes. She said people are too scared to go home because they live on the coast, a sentiment shared by one woman who told AFP: “I did not lose my home, and my husband and child are safe, but we are still traumatised by the tsunami and are too afraid to return home in case another one comes.”

West Java Governor Danny Setiawan told journalists that officials are persuading people to return home, and he said a return to normality “could take five to six years”.

Aid workers are working to provide relief to the 15,500 people who have been left homeless as a result of the two-meter high wave. Yesterday, 15 tonnes of rice and 1,600 boxes of instant noodles were dropped, but some residents have said government assistance is necessary for them to regain their livelihoods. One woman told Reuters, “I don’t have anything, only 5,000 rupiah (£0.30, $0.55) in my wallet. The government should give us money to buy houses and a boat.”

It is estimated over 300 people are still missing, and the army and police are using helicopters, boats and mechanical diggers in the hope of recovering survivors. Lieutenant Colonel Tri Yuniarta has told his 350-strong rescue team in Pangandaran to finish collecting bodies trapped under debris by next Monday.

The Indonesian government has been criticised for failing to inform residents that a tsunami was looming. After the underwater earthquake was detected, US and Japanese agencies issued warning notices, but the government has admitted it was unable to transmit the bulletins to coastal areas. Speaking yesterday, Mr Yudhoyono vowed to hasten efforts to build an early warning system planned after the 2004 Asian tsunami. “We want to expedite efforts to get infrastructure for the tsunami warning system in place,” AP quoted him as saying. “I will work with parliament to get the budget”.

Survivors have described the tsunami, which struck a 200km stretch of Java’s southern coast. A Belgian tourist said he was in a beach side bar when the wave hit. “I saw this big cloud of dark sea water coming up to me”.

Indonesia is situated on the Pacific Rim of Fire where 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur.

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April 26, 2005

Historic summit, commemoration by Asian-African leaders in Bandung

Historic summit, commemoration by Asian-African leaders in Bandung

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Location map for Indonesia Source: Wikipedia

The heads of state and representatives of 89 Asian and African countries met this weekend in Bandung, capital of West Java, Indonesia. The three-day meeting, started Friday in commemoration of the golden jubilee (50th anniversary) of the original Bandung Conference, resulted in the discussion of a number of important international issues and future plans for similar high-level meetings and programs for action.

The two co-hosts of the event were President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Some of the many world leaders in attendance were:

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India
  • President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan
  • Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations

Original Bandung conference, 1955

The 1955 Bandung conference has assumed almost mythical importance, as the giants of that age addressed post-colonial concerns of 29 Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations, and collectively brought their interests to the world stage.

The conference, which was attended by the first Premier of the PRC, Zhou Enlai, and the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, was called the “first intercontinental meeting of colored peoples in the history of mankind” by its host Sukarno, who was also first prime minister of Indonesia — men with dreams and ambition in times of great change.

Their shared vision gave fresh impetus to the African fight for independence from colonial oppression, and articulated the meaning of the “spirit of Bandung” with ten binding principles of non-aggression and peaceful friendship. This approach bore fruit a few years later in the creation the Non-Aligned Movement, which was an attempt by so-called third world countries to coordinate their efforts to remain independent from the power struggle between the United States and Russia during the Cold War.

This year’s Bandung summit

Leaders of some of the world’s richest as well as poorest nations attended the summit, together representing some two-thirds of the world’s population. Poverty and underdevelopment were the main issues under discussion. Also discussed were terrorism, UN reform, the breakdown of multilateralism, and the benefits and risks of globalization. In response to the recent tragedy of the December 26, 2004 tsunami, the leaders adopted a joint statement to create a shared early warning system.

On the last day of the summit, Sunday April 24, Yudhoyono said, “History will judge us [not based on what we say here, but] on the basis of what we do in the days, months and years ahead — whether we are true to the Bandung Spirit, or we fail it through failure of political nerve.

“We will be judged on how dedicated we are to our Strategic Partnership, on whether we can make it work to ensure a better life for our children’s children.

“Let us therefore work together, so that we will deserve the kindness of history.” After the speeches, Yudhoyono and Mbeki signed the “Declaration on the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership”.

The conference was full of symbolism and music, speeches and celebration in honor of the Bandung Spirit and an attempt to recapture some of the magic of those former days. The more than 100 participants are in number the largest-ever gathering of Asian and African leaders.

At the conclusion of the conference, led by their two-cohosts, Mbeki and Yudhoyono, more than 40 of the leaders followed in the historical footsteps of the 1955 conference, taking part in the ritual of the “Bandung walks”. They strolled amid tight security from the aging Savoy Homman Hotel, to the white-columned Gedung Merdeka, or “Freedom Building”.

Then the leaders each planted trees in the “Asia-Africa forest”, one tree per country to symbolize close cooperation between their peoples, before getting on their jets and returning home.

Tensions at the conference

The events at the conference were overshadowed by recent tensions between Japan/China and North Korea/South Korea; however, some good did come of the countries’ meeting.

Japan, China meeting

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are said to have met on Saturday and talked for about an hour, after Koizumi took the unusual step of a public apology at the conference. The relationship between their countries has been particularly tense in recent weeks; several Wikinews articles, cited below, describe the ongoing Chinese protests and demonstrations against Japan.

The two countries are growing commercial rivals and have ongoing territorial disagreements that pertain to certain oil and natural gas deposits they both claim. In addition, some Chinese have been offended by what they see as a Japanese attempt to whitewash their World War II record of aggression in revised school textbooks.

Hu has also taken particular offense at Koizumi’s annual habit, since 2001, of visiting the Yasukuni war cemetery and shrine in Tokyo. Hu said that “[Japan should] never do anything again that would hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” Koizumi has not yet visited the shrine so far this year.

It remains to be seen if and how the two parties may resolve their deep underlying differences.

North Korea, South Korea meeting

North Korean President of Parliament Kim Yong Nam and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan were among those attending the summit. The two are reported to have met and talked together for about 30 minutes on Saturday concerning the relationship between their countries. Their discussion is said to have touched on such issues of concern as North Korea’s nuclear plans.

“It was the highest-level meeting between the South and the North since the summit on June 15, 2002. We had a great deal of frank discussions on important issues … going beyond scheduled time. It was a good meeting. We had frank discussions about dialogue between the authorities [of the South and North] and the six party talks,” Lee said.

According to Kim, North Korea would come back to the talks “when conditions were right”. However, a definite timetable for resuming the six-party talks was not given. North Korea has recently boycotted the talks, and complained about certain positions taken by the USA, one of the six parties to the talks.

Program for future action

Delegates agreed to hold future meetings every two years (for foreign ministers) and every four years (for heads of state) in order to bring the principles of their strategic partnership into productive action. The next meeting of heads of state is planned for 2009 in South Africa.

Sampling of Remarks

Here are some representative comments made by various Afro-Asian leaders during their speeches at the summit.

Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations

Kofi Annan Source: Ricardo Stuckert/ABr

“If we are to make our world fairer, freer and safer for all its inhabitants, the institutions of the United Nations should reflect the world of 2005, not 1945 — particularly the Security Council. I believe the time is approaching when the Member States should take a decision to make the Council more representative, including by strengthening the representation of developing countries. I also believe they should create two new inter-governmental bodies — a Peacebuilding Commission which would bring together the various actors involved in helping countries move from war to lasting peace, and a Human Rights Council in which States from all regions would participate.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India

Manmohan Singh Source: PM's Office

“Mr. Chairman Sir, to meet these challenges and constraints, we must respond in a manner worthy of the Bandung spirit. Just as that historic meeting redefined the agenda for its times, we must do so once again here today. The declaration on a new Asian African Strategic Partnership outlines guiding principles for joint action to achieve our goals in a changed global environment…

“In this spirit, in cooperation with our neighbour, Pakistan, we have embarked upon a journey of peace and good neighbourly ties. I appreciate the positive sentiments expressed by President Pervez Musharaff yesterday which I fully reciprocate. We are sincere in our desire to resolve all issues in a mutually acceptable manner. This will surely bring benefit to our people and to our region.”

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa

Thabo Mbeki Source: Antonio Milena/ABr

“I am honoured to wish this historic second Asian-African Conference success, convinced that we have the will to advance the cause pioneered by some of the greatest sons and daughters of Africa and Asia. We are most grateful to President Yudhoyono, the government and people of Indonesia who have opened the hearts and home to all of us, despite the heavy burdens imposed on them by the recent natural disasters that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and caused incalculable destruction.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Source: bushindonesiamtg1-515h.html White House

“The Strategic Partnership highlights the need to address issues of common concern, such as armed conflict, weapons of mass destruction, transnational organized crime and terrorism. Our strategic partnership also emphasized the need to promote practical cooperation in areas such as trade, industry, investment, finance, tourism, information and communication technology, energy, health, transportation, agriculture, water resources and fisheries. We are determined to prevent conflict and resolve disputes by peaceful means.”

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