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March 21, 2009

New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack

New Zealand pilots receive bravery awards for foiling airliner hijack

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

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The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) has awarded two New Zealand pilots with the Polaris Award for their bravery in landing their plane during an attempted hijacking and then confronting the alleged hijacker.

Pilot Dion McMillan and co-pilot Ross Haverfield were given the awards at an IFALPA conference in Auckland today. They were flying over New Zealand’s South Island in February 2008 when the incident took place. A woman armed with a knife said she had two bombs in her luggage and told them to fly to Australia.

McMillan issued a mayday call advising air traffic control of the situation and the pilots performed an emergency landing at Christchurch International Airport. McMillan and Haverfield then waited until the passengers had disembarked before confronting the woman, who had already stabbed one passenger.

A fight broke out in which Haverfield was stabbed in the foot and McMillan’s hand was stabbed so badly he was off work for several months. Asha Ali Abdille, a 33-year-old Somali woman living in New Zealand, was subsequently arrested. Her trial is pending and will begin in September.

McMillan accepted Haverfield’s award on his behalf, the co-pilot not attending the black tie dinner at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre, which was put on as part of an IFALPA convention lasting a week. He could say very little about the event due to the pending court action, but he did say of his hand “The movement’s good but there’s still not much feeling left.”



Related news

  • “Woman attacks aircraft pilots in New Zealand hijacking attempt” — Wikinews, February 8, 2008

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February 15, 2008

Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot released on bail

Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot released on bail

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Indonesian national Marwoto Komar has been released on bail having earlier been arrested over the March 7 crash of a Boeing 737 he was piloting. Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 overshot the runway at Yogyakarta Airport whilst landing after a scheduled domestic passenger flight, leaving 21 Indonesian and Australian passengers dead, out of 140 on board.

The subsequent investigation by the National Transport Safety Committee concluded with report released in November that found the aircraft had approached at far in excess of safe landing speeds, with Komar ignoring 15 activations of the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) as well as his co-pilot requesting an emergency go-around as the plane touched down.

Muchtar Yudhi, legal representative of Mr Komar, told El Shinta radio today that authorities had accepted a request to release Komar on bail, he having been arrested nearly two weeks ago in Yogyakarta. He said Komar remains a suspect of manslaugher, but that he will continue to co-operate with police.

He also said that under global aviation law “if a plane crash occurred, the pilot cannot face criminal investigation”.

The police say they intend to prosecute him for negligence and will now charge him when he returns to court. He is thought to be the first pilot to be prosecuted over a crash in Indonesian history, which also contains a poor aviation safety record.

The Indonesian Pilot’s Association has also said that the criminal prosecution should be avoided, arguing that the only people who can judge whether mistakes were made in aviation are those professionally involved and not the police. There were protests in Jakarta demanding his release and dozens of pilots across the nation also campaigned. Two survivors, Adrianus Meliala and Retno Gunowati, went to the House of Representatives (DPR) on Wednesday to challenge those opposed to legal processes against the pilot.

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.”

Alexander Downer, Australian foreign minister at the time of the crash, earlier said “…I am very glad that they have reached a point now where they have charged the captain of the aircraft.” Several people involved were Australian journalists following Downer on a visit to Indonesia.

“Thanks to the chief of the Indonesian Police and the chief of Yogyakarta Police… I’m glad now that I can meet my family again.” Komar said upon his release.

Komar has earlier been under police surveillance, during which time he was receiving psychological treatment. He has had his pilot’s license suspended.



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 7, 2008

Concern as Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot arrested and charged

Concern as Garuda Indonesia Flight 200 pilot arrested and charged

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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.”



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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