Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie said Jalaluddin Airport was temporarily closed after a Lion Air aircraft skidded on the runway on Tuesday evening.
“The plane is still on the runway. Therefore, the airport must be temporarily closed,” he said in Gorontalo on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
Rusli said the plane could not be removed from the runway unless the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) issued a recommendation.
“I have talked with Pak Tatang [KNKT chief Tatang Kurniadi] and he has dispatched a team to Gorontalo via Manado. They will first carry out an examination and after that, they will issue a recommendation,” said Rusli.
The governor hoped that Jalaluddin Airport could resume operations as Idul Fitri-related travel peaked today.
Responding to a question on animals wandering around the airport’s runway area, Rusli admitted he often received reports that the airport’s fencing was not optimal.
“Lion Air management has just told me that animals, particularly dogs, are often seen on the runway. This problem should be immediately resolved,” said Rusli.
The Gorontalo administration is scheduled to hold a meeting with the KNKT and the Jalaluddin Airport management to seek ways of preventing such an accident from happening again.
Earlier, Lion Air pilot Iwan Permadi said his aircraft skidded on the runway after it hit three cows that had crossed the runway.
The aircraft, with flight number JT-892, was carrying 110 passengers, including five babies and seven crew members including pilot Iwan and co-pilot Faisal Hasnan.
The incident occurred at around 9 p.m. local time on Tuesday. (ebf)