Pilot Complacency Blamed for Indonesia Jet Crash that Killed 62
Sriwijaya Air Flight 182’s engine control system malfunctioned minutes after takeoff, leading to a crash that killed all 62 people on board last year, Indonesian investigators concluded.
(Bloomberg) -- Sriwijaya Air Flight 182’s engine control system malfunctioned minutes after takeoff, leading to a crash that killed all 62 people on board in January last year, Indonesian investigators concluded Thursday.
Pilots failed to control the Boeing Co. 737-500 when one of its automated engine throttle levers began losing power, causing the plane to roll onto its side and plummet into the Java Sea, the National Transportation Safety Committee said in its final report on the fatal Jan. 9 flight.
“Complacency and confirmation bias led to limited monitoring” by the pilots, who failed to immediately rectify the situation, lead investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said at a briefing. The findings support the results of preliminary investigations.
The crash added to Indonesia’s poor aviation safety record. In 2014, an AirAsia jetliner carrying 162 people went down in the Java Sea, killing all on board, and then in 2018 a Lion Air crash in the same waters claimed 189 lives.
The investigation concluded that the autothrottle system command malfunctioned, causing the plane to turn left instead of to the right as intended, and the pilot was unable to recover the situation, the agency said. Maintenance records showed the problem was reported 65 times since 2013 and that the issue still existed on the final flight.
“Inadequate upset prevention and recovery training contributed to the inability of the pilot to prevent and recover from the upset condition,” Utomo said. The agency is recommending mandatory training to pilots nationwide, he said.
There were two pilots, aged 54 and 34, four flight attendants and 56 passengers on the plane, which was headed from Jakarta to Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province. The aircraft was made in 1994.
The US National Transportation Safety Board, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau assisted in the probe.
(Adds details on the flight and investigation in final paragraphs.)
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