Disasters & Accidents

Indonesia says mechanical failure caused Sriwijaya Air plane crash

Jakarta, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- Indonesian authorities reported this Wednesday that a mechanical failure in an engine throttle lever could cause the crash of the Boeing 737 of the Indonesian airline Sriwijaya Air on January 9 with 62 people a board.

The preliminary report, published Wednesday by the National Committee on Transportation Safety, said that as the aircraft climbed, the automatic throttle on the left engine was reduced, while that of the right engine remained stable.

According to data obtained by the flight recorder, the plane, in service nearly 27 years, took off without problems, engaged the autopilot and experienced mishaps with the throttle lever at 8,150 feet.

The aircraft climbed to 10,900 feet and crashed into the Java Sea, near Jakarta.

“The left (throttle) was backing too far, while the right was not moving or seemed stuck. We do not know which of the two was malfunctioning,” Nurcahyo Utomo, director of the aviation committee, said in a news conference.

A few days before the accident and on two occasions, the pilots reported a malfunction of the automatic throttle, which was repaired by the technicians.

Indonesian authorities said they are still trying to locate one of the black boxes, which records conversations in the cockpit, as they do not know why the pilot could not regain control of the aircraft.

The reason for the abrupt change of direction to the left before the dive is also unknown.

Utomo said the preliminary report focused on the aircraft’s automatic acceleration system and about 13 related components of the aircraft, as well as the maintenance record of the device and the possible human factors involved.

According to the flight log, there were 50 passengers on board, including three toddlers seven other minors, and 12 crew members, all of them Indonesian.

The crash is the latest in a long history of air accidents in Indonesia.

The country, with more than 17,000 islands, is the country where flying is most dangerous in Asia after having suffered 104 civil air accidents with 2,301 fatalities since 1945, according to data from the Aviation Safety Network.

The worst accident in the history of Indonesian aviation occurred in September 1997, when an Airbus of the flag carrier Garuda crashed in the north of the island of Sumatra, killing all 234 people onboard. EFE-EPA


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