Monday, April 06, 2009

Garuda pilot convicted and sentenced for 2007 Yogyakarta crash

Marwoto KomarAn Indonesian court has found Marwoto Komar guilty of negligence in the 2007 crash of a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-400 passenger aircraft at Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  He has been  sentenced to two years in jail.

Mr. Komar was the pilot in command of the accident aircraft.  On March 7, 2007, the plane was arriving at Yogyakarta after a scheduled flight from Jakarta  when it overran the runway upon landing, broke through a fence, crossed a road, and came to rest in a rice paddy where it burned. Among the seven crew members and 133 passengers who were on board, one flight attendant and 20 passengers died, and dozens were injured.

In October of 2007, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) released a report on its investigation of the Yogyakarta accident. The NTSC's main finding was that "...the flight crew’s compliance with procedures was not at a level to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft." The report said that "the aircraft was flown at an excessive airspeed and steep flight path angle during the approach and landing, resulting in an unstabilized approach."

The NTSC report also said that Komar "did not follow company procedures that required him to fly a stabilized approach, and he did not abort the landing and go around when the approach was not stabilized," and that he disregarded Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) alerts, and calls from the first officer to go around.

Despite protests by the Federation of Indonesian Pilots (FPI), the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) and others in the international aviation community, criminal charges were brought against Komar. His trial got underway in July of 2008, making Komar the first pilot to face criminal charges arising from an aircraft accident in Indonesia. He was charged with three counts of negligence and one count of deliberately destroying or damaging an aircraft, and causing death.

An article about the verdict in the Canberra Times reports:
In a majority verdict, the Sleman District Court found Komar could have taken steps to avert the disaster.

"In the landing stages the defendant was not careful, and should have coordinated better with his co-pilot," one of the five judges said.

Komar, wearing his pilot's uniform despite being stripped of his licence, immediately declared he could not accept the verdict and intended to launch an appeal.

The court did not order Komar into immediate detention, meaning he will not go to jail until a higher court orders it.
Aircrew Buzz has been following the developments surrounding this accident and the ensuing prosecution of Marwoto Komar since the outset. Here is a review of articles describing the progression of events:
...or click here to view all posts about Garuda Flt 200 on Aircrew Buzz.