Australia completes inquest for victims of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200

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Friday, November 9, 2007

A Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-400 at Singapore Changi Airport on February 4, 2007. It is nearly identical to the one that crashed.
Image: Terence Ong.

Ron Cahill, a Canberra resident and chief coroner of the Australian Capital Territory, has concluded the inquest into the deaths of three Australian nationals who were amongst the 21 people killed in the crash of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200. The Boeing 737-400 aircraft overshot a runway at Yogyakarta, Indonesia on March 7.

The inquest indicated that Alison Sudradjat, Brice Steele and Mark Scott died from injuries sustained in the crash. Cahill commented that this finding would also apply to the deaths of two other Australians on the flight; the remaining fatal injuries were sustained by Indonesians. The inquest was opened at the request of families of the three victims involved in this inquest after the repatriation of their bodies.

Cahill agreed fully with a recent report issued by the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee, which indicated that the pilot-in-command attempted to land the aircraft at extreme speed despite 15 automated cockpit warnings and a request from the co-pilot to perform a go-around. He went on to suggest that the pilot should be prosecuted over his mistakes.

"I recommend that CASA and Air Services Australia and all Australian airlines review the report to consider whether any of the safety deficiencies identified have relevance to Australian aviation operations and therefore need to be addressed," he said.

He went on to describe concerns with how these deficiencies are being addressed in Indonesia: "It is of some concern that the Indonesian regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, did not provide the National Transportation Safety Committee with details of safety action to address the recommendations which were in the draft report."

Alison Sudrajat's daughter had this to say in light of the findings: "It was very informative and it was nice to know what exactly happened, because he went into quite some detail about everything."

"It was quite comforting, but it's not going to bring anyone back."


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