Foreign plane intercepted in Indonesian airspace
The Jakarta Post
The Air Force intercepted and forced a foreign-registered plane to land on Monday after it passed into the country's airspace without authorization.
Mulawarman Military Command VI spokesman Lt. Col. Inf. Andi Gunawan said the small plane was detected flying over the Sulawesi Sea on Monday.
"The plane was detected by radar by Radar Unit 225 Tarakan without code or identity, so we suspected it was an airspace violation," he told journalists in Balikpapan.
"The aircraft was forced to land at Juwata Airport in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, at 2:31 p.m. local time."
Mulawarman Military Command covers three provinces: South Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan.
Andi said the single-engine Cessna was piloted by Lt. Col. James Patrick Murphy, an officer in the US navy.
He passed through the Philippines and Malaysia before entering Indonesian airspace.
"He told us that he was on leave and was flying solo in a civilian aircraft. He is a pilot with the US navy," Andi said.
The local authorities sent out two Sukhoi jets from the National Air Defense Command based at Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi, piloted by Maj. Anton Pallaguna and Maj. Baskoro.
Andi added that after being forced to land, Air Force personnel questioned Murphy at the Tarakan airport.
Murphy said he was heading to Singapore from the Philippines. He started his journey from Hawaii, the US.
"We are coordinating with the Foreign Ministry to see if he can resume his flight," he said. (rin)
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