Date: September 26th, 1997
Type: A-300 Airbus
Registration: PK-GA
Operator: Gardua Airlines
Where: Samatra, Indonesa
Report No.: Not Available
Report Date: -
Pages: -

This is not an accident investigation report.

JAKARTA, Indonesia - An Indonesian Garuda Airlines A-300 Airbus carrying 234 people crashed en route to Medan on the northern tip of Sumatra, where visibility has been hampered by dense smoke from forest fires.

The number of casualities was not immediately known. An airline official said 222 passengers and 12 crew were on board. Police said most were believed to be Indonesian nationals.

The cause of the crash was unknown. It was not clear whether the smoke from the hundreds of forest fires, which has disrupted air service in much of the region in recent days, was a factor. Search and rescue teams were being rushed to the scene. An airline official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the plane came down about 20 miles south of Medan, which is 870 miles northwest of the capital, Jakarta.

The official said the plane crashed at 1:55 p.m. (2:55 a.m. EDT), about 30 minutes before its scheduled landing.

The dense smoke has covered several Southeast Asian nations, forcing many airports to shut down due to poor visibility. Sumatra, along with neighboring Borneo, is one of the worst affected islands.

Airport sources said Flight GA-152 lost contact with the Medan control tower at about 1:30 p.m. (0530 GMT/ 1:30 a.m. EDT). Rescue officials said the plane went down near the village of Buah Nabar in the Sibolangit district south of Medan

An error by air traffic control (ATC) at Polonia Airport
in North Sumatra might be behind Friday's Garuda Indonesia airliner crash
that killed all 234 people on board, a transcript of communication between an
ATC official and the pilot indicates. 

The transcript, obtained by Kyodo News on Monday evening, shows that the ATC
official asked the pilot of the Airbus A300-B4 Flight GA152 to turn left into
a mountainous area about four minutes before the crash. 

''Turn left heading ... 240, 235 degrees now, vectoring for intercept ILS
runway 05,'' said the official. 

Capt. Pilot Hance Rahmowiyogo answered, ''Roger heading 235 GIA152.'' 

The pilot, who had worked for more than 20 years for Garuda Indonesia and had
more than 12,000 flying hours, asked the official whether the route was free
from obstacles, because he thought a mountainous area was to his left. 

''152 heading 235 confirm are we cleared from a ... mountainous area?'' Capt.
Rahmowiyogo asked. 

''Affirm Sir! Continue turn left on heading 215,'' the ATC official replied. 

One minute before the crash, the ATC official asked the pilot, ''152 confirm
you're making turning left now?'' 

''We are turning right now,'' said the pilot. 

''152 OK you continue turning left now,'' the official told the pilot. 

''A ... confirm turning left? We are start turning right now,'' said the

The ATC official finally agreed that the pilot should turn right. Ten seconds
after the official confirmed that the plane should continue in that
direction, the crash occurred. 

Final Words From Indonesia Crash

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Following are excerpts of the final radio conversation between the pilot of an Indonesian jetliner and the control tower before the plane crashed Friday, killing all 234 people on board.

The transcript included the following exchange, in English, between the pilot, identified as ``GIA 152,'' and the air traffic controller:

Air traffic controller: GIA 152 turn right heading 046 report established localizer (the controller's command means that the plane should align itself with the localizer, a radio beam that indicates the runway's location).

      Pilot: Turn right heading 040 GIA 152 check established.
      Air traffic controller: Turning right sir.
      Pilot: Roger 152.
      Air traffic controller: 152 Confirm you're making turning left now?
      Pilot: We are turning right now.
      Air traffic controller: 152 OK you continue turning left now.
      Pilot: A (pause) confirm turning left? We are starting turning right now.
      Air traffic controller: OK (pause) OK.
      Air traffic controller: GIA 152 continue turn right heading 015.
      Pilot: ``Allahu akbar!''

Updated 30th September 1997