Indonesia blames pilot error for plane crash that killed 45






JAKARTA: Indonesian investigators blamed pilot error on Tuesday for a Sukhoi Superjet crash that killed all 45 onboard an exhibition flight that slammed into a Javanese volcano in May.

The National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) found that the terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) was functioning and that the pilot had switched it off before the crash.

"The TAWS had sent a 'terrain ahead' warning before the crash, followed by six 'avoid terrain' warnings. The pilot in command switched the TAWS off as he assumed there was a database problem," KNKT chief Tatang Kurniadi said.

He said there was a "diversion of attention" in the cockpit before the Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed into the 7,200-foot (2,200-metre) dormant Mount Salak volcano.

"The crash could have been avoided if a recovery action was carried out within 24 seconds from the first warning," he told reporters.

The flight was scheduled to be a 40-minute hop to showcase the new Russian plane to prospective buyers in Indonesia, where the aviation industry is booming.

The Superjet accident was taken as a blow to the Russian aviation industry, which was hoping the twin-engine plane, the first new civilian aircraft built in post-Soviet Russia, would improve its image.

- AFP/al



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Indonesia blames pilot error for plane crash that killed 45