Helicopter on survey mission prior to incident, says Total
The Jakarta Post
The Sikorsky 76C PK-FUP helicopter that reportedly made an emergency landing on Tanjung Dewa Island, Anggana subdistrict, Kutai Kartanegara regency, East Kalimantan, on Saturday, was being used French oil and gas company Total E&P Indonesie (TEPI) on a mission to inspect pipelines when the incident occurred at 10:20 a.m. local time.
'The helicopter took off from our field in Handil for a routine inspection of pipelines connecting our wells to the processing area. The inspection was scheduled to take place on March 21-23,' the company's head of external communications, Achmad Krisna Hadianto, said on Sunday.
Handil is part of Samboja subdistrict, Kutai Kartanegara, located around 70 kilometers to the north of Balikpapan. In Handil, TEPI operates its South Processing Unit (SPU) to refine oil and gas from fields in nearby areas.
'The length of our pipelines is equal to the distance between Jakarta and Flores, East Nusa Tenggara,' said Hadianto. As the pipeline network measured 5,000 kilometers, he said, the company used a helicopter for its routine inspection.
Hadianto further explained that the helicopter, operated by PT Hevilift Aviation Indonesia, was flying at a height of 500 feet when it was forced to make an emergency landing in a mangrove forest in Tanjung Dewa, Anggana.
Both pilot and copilot, as well as five passengers on board, sustained injuries. After receiving medical treatment at the TEPI health clinic, they were transferred to Siloam Hospital in Balikpapan.
'From information we received from the hospital, the victims were all conscious and did not suffer life-threatening injuries,' said Hadianto.
The helicopter was piloted by Ahmad Zaini with copilot Agung while the five passengers comprised Total Indonesie employees Rahmat Y. and Agung Danur, Total contractors Hafid from PT Radian Utama and M.Sudarman from PT Biru Tiga Utama, and Cahaya Ramadhan, a photographer.
The police have cordoned off the site of the incident. The National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) has dispatched a team to secure helicopter debris. TEPI security officers and National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) personnel, supported by military personnel from the Awang Long 611 Infantry Battalion, helped secure the area.
The last Total air incident occurred in March 2006 during which its SA 365 C2 Dauphin helicopter made an emergency landing in the Samboja waters, Kutai Kertanegara, around 3.5 nautical miles to the north of its Bekapai platform. Two helicopter crew members and four passengers survived the incident. (ebf)(++++)
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