Boy T Harjanto
Among the most memorable moments in Indonesia’s aviation industry is the emergency landing of Garuda Indonesia flight GA 421 in the Bengawan Solo River, Central Java, on Jan. 16, 2002. Piloted by captain Abdul Rozaq, the aircraft used for the flight was a Boeing 737-300 powered with CFM56-3B1 engines.
Traveling from Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) to Yogyakarta, the plane was descending to land when somewhere above Rembang regency in Central Java, the pilot became aware of cumulonimbus clouds nearby, according to a kompas.com report.
The pilot’s request to move around the clouds was granted by the air traffic controller (ATC).
Unfortunately, as the aircraft descended further to 18,000 feet, one if its engines shut down. When the auxiliary power unit (APU) for the main engine failed to turn on, Abdul decided to perform an emergency landing on the Bengawan Solo River, which was coming into sight.
From the total of 60 passengers and crew, one flight attendant was killed in the landing while 12 passengers suffered serious injuries and 10 survived with light injuries.
Residents of nearby areas helped passengers evacuate the plain. One of them, 47-year-old Wiyono, detailed the emergency landing to The Jakarta Post.
Wiyono talked us through photos taken soon after the incident, explaining to us how the aircraft landed on the river and how its strong current complicated the rescue mission. (mut)