Indonesia plane crash partly blamed on pilot error

Indonesian investigators say the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 plane crash last year which killed 62 people was due to a faulty throttle system and delayed pilot response.

Flight SJ-182 plunged into the Java Sea on 9 January 202,  minutes after take-off from Jakarta, killing all on board. In their final report, investigators blamed several factors, including a repeatedly faulty throttle system. It was Indonesia’s third major air accident in the space of six years.

Investigators said the plane – which was 26 years old – had an automated throttle system that suffered a malfunction shortly after take-off.

That had caused the jet to tilt sharply off-course before it nosedived 3,000m (10,000 ft) into the sea, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said.

Previous flight crews had noted the throttle system was “unserviceable” and it had received regular repairs, the KNKT said, according to AFP news agency.

Investigators also noted that those in the cockpit had not reacted to the plane’s deviation in time – perhaps due to complacency that resulted in “less monitoring” from the pilots.

The investigators noted in their report released on Thursday that this was also the result of a lack of training for pilots on how to react in such emergency situations. The KNKT said the airline had enacted such training since the accident.

The Sriwijaya Air crash underscored Indonesia’s dismal air safety record, with three major commercial flight crashes in recent years.

In 2014, an AirAsia A320 jet crashed during bad weather into the Java Sea, killing 162 people.

Four years later, in 2018, a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max plane crashed into the sea, killing 189 people.

That flight and the crash of another in Ethiopia months later prompted the grounding worldwide of the Boeing 737 Max, which had a faulty anti-stall system.

Relatives of the passengers and crew on board the ill-fated Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 are facing an agonising wait as authorities search for the wreckage.

Sixty-two people were on board the passenger plane which plunged into the sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday. There appears to be no hope of finding survivors. -BBC

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