It’s been a month since the accident happened and I only had time today to re-capture of the shocking incident that happened during Sukhoi SuperJet 100 joy flight. I would say that accident is memorable especially to my family as one of our beloved relatives was on that flight..
I have attempted to follow every coming news about the accident, and put them onto pointers.
- On May 9th 2012, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 disappeared on a demonstration flight operating from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta, Indonesia. The demonstration flight was in line with Sukhoi’s promotional program to entertain its firm and potential buyers in Indonesia namely: Kartika Airlines, Airfast Indonesia, and Sky Aviation. The Sukhoi superjet arrived in Indonesia on May 9th 2012 – the fourth stop on its Asian demonstrative tour, which includes six countries in total. The plane had previously visited Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. After Jakarta, Sukhoi was supposed to visit two more Asian countries – Laos and Vietnam.
- Sukhoi had appointed PT. Tri Marga Rekatama, as the plane manufacturer’s sales agency in Indonesia to arrange the joy flight on the May 9th 2012. The demo flight was initially scheduled to operate three times. The first joy flight was conducted in the morning, exceptionally dedicated to Sky Aviation by carrying the airline’s VIPs and other representatives from the airline. The second and third flights were dedicated to Sukhoi’s special guests and the media. The first flight went without a hitch.
- For the second flight (1400 hrs), Sukhoi intended to invite potential buyers from Sky Aviation, Batavia Air, Pelita Air, Air Aviastar and Sriwijaya Air. Sukhoi also invited representatives from various local media, entrepreneurs and other business associates. However, during the second joy flight many invitees canceled their attendance, leaving many empty seats and allowing a few numbers of last-minute passengers to join. In result, the accurate passenger manifest was questionable.
- Highly experienced pilots with extensive record of flying hours operated the joy flight. One of the pilots was Alexander Yablontsev who was in charge of the whole operation and had logged more than 10,000 hours of operating Sukhoi Superjet and its prototypes.
- At 1500 hrs (09/05), Sukhoi Superjet 100 was reported missing from radar after being cleared for descent from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet in Atang Sanjaya air space near Gunung Salak, Bogor.
- Authorities were restrained from publishing the latest information of the actual victims since the passenger manifest remained inaccurate due to the last minutes passengers addition on the second joy flight, causing difficulties tracking the number of passengers on board. After conducting final check based on the missing reports from family and relatives; On the May 9th evening at around 19:00 hrs the authorities finally released the actual list of victims on board, comprising a total of 45 passengers, including 8 Sukhoi crews and 37 passengers.
- Indonesian Government instructed the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS), with the help from Indonesian Army Forces, nature groups and local residents of Mt. Salak, to conduct an immediate investigation and evacuation.
- On May 10th 2012, BASARNAS finally discovered the crash site of the ill-fated aircraft. Reportedly the plane slammed into a jungle-clad cliff atop Mt. Salak. Shortly after, the investigation team began to come to the crash site, only to find no survivors left while collecting the plane’s debris amidst the extreme weather of Mt. Salak. On the other side, families of victims could only wait for further notification, said to finish in two weeks time.
- On May 18th 2012, BASARNAS decided to end the evacuation process. With the help from Disaster Victim Identification Team (DVI Team), remains of the victims were collected and reconstructed before returned to the families.
- The aircraft’s black box was finally discovered on May 15th 2012 by the Army Forces and the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT)
- The black box was finally discovered on May 15th 2012 by the Army Forces and Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) while the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was found three days after. KNKT is currently examining both the black box and FDR, which may take up to one year of completion.
- On May 21th 2012, the DVI team and BASARNAS released the official list of the 45 identified victims. Police Department, BASARNAS, and PT. Tri Marga Rekatama officially handed over the remains of the victims back to the families on May 23rd 2012 at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
I would personally say that the situation of the crisis center was not efficient. Why? During the waiting period after the accident occurred crisis center was filled by so many people and families who were confused, sad, and hysterical. Besides, a lot of media were there to visit every affected family and guiltlessly asking if they might have time for interview. It is not that everybody loves being in the crisis center, I believe nobody would love to. Psychology teams were spread out in the crisis center to guide the affected families, but in my opinion it wasn’t quiet helpful because the affected families were not gathered at one isolated place. This might be another part of reconsideration for any other crisis teams to put families psychological circumstances in priority if other similar cases might have happened someday.
In addition, our family would also like to address our big appreciation to the National Search and Rescue Team (BASARNAS), Police Department, Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) teams, nature lover societies, and Mt. Salak residents for their great efforts to evacuate all the victims from the jagged slope Mt. Salak.
Let’s hope and pray that any similar incident won’t happen again.