26 September 1997 - Garuda 152

Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 (GA152, GIA152) was a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight from Jakarta to Medan Sumatra operated by state owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia. On September 26, 1997, the Airbus A300 flying this route, registered PK-GAI, crashed into woodlands 18 miles from Medan in low visibility. All 235 passengers and crew were killed in the disaster.

Flight GA152 (Jakarta-Medan) was cleared for an ILS approach to Medan runway 05 and was flying on a 316deg heading on Airway 585/W12. Having descended to 3000ft the crew were instructed to turn left heading 240deg for vectoring to intercept the runway 05 ILS. At 13.28 the flight was instructed to continue on a 215deg heading and descend to 2000ft. At 13.30h ATC directed the flight to turn right heading 045 and report when establishing the localizer. Confusion at the part of the air traffic controller followed over whether GA152 was turning left or right. Just 10 seconds after confirming the right turn, the Airbus crashed in a wooded area, broke up and burst into flames. The wreckage covered a 150x75m area near the village of Pancur Batu, which is located at 900-1000m amsl. The accident happened 30kms short of Medan Airport. The region was affected by smog from forest fires; visibility was reported to be 600-800m.

The cause of the crash, according to the official report of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), were:

1. The aircraft turned left instead of right as instructed by the ATC.

2. The aircraft descended below the assigned altitude of 2,000 ft and thereafter struck treetops at 1550 ft above mean sea level.

According to data gathered from the plane's cockpit voice recorder, the phrase "Aaaah! Allah Akbar!" ("God Is Great!") were the last words said by the pilot before the crash.

Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

MNA241 = Merpati Flight 241 (approaching);
BOU683 = Bouraq Flight 683 (departing);
GIA152 = Garuda Flight 152 (approaching)

GIA 152: Medan Approach, GIA152 passing 150.
MEDAN: GIA 152 radar contact 43 miles. Descent to 3000ft for Runway 05, reduce speed to 220.
GIA 152: Descend 3000for Runway 05. Reduce speed to 220 kts., GIA 152.
GIA 152: Approach, GIA 152, request reason to reduce speed above 10000 to 220kts.
MEDAN: OK Sir, your traffic departure sir, now start engine, release traffic departure at or before 27.
GIA 152: 152 like to maintain 210 kts... 250kts, and below 10000.
MEDAN: OK, it's approved.
MNA 241: MNA 241 passing 10000.
MEDAN: MNA 241, your position now 11 miles on W-11. Contact 1212. Happy landing.
MNA 241: Selamat siang. Terima kasih. (Good afternoon. Thank you)
MEDAN: Any time.
GIA 152: GIA 152; 3000
MEDAN: GIA 152, maintain 3000ft for a while. Maintain heading Medan VOR. Traffic now still taxi Runway 23.
GIA 152: Maintain 3000.
MEDAN: Merpati 152, you turn left heading 240 vectoring for intercept ILS Runway 05 from right side. Traffic now rolling.
MEDAN: GIA 152 do you read?
GIA 152: GIA 152, say again?
MEDAN: Turn left heading a ...... 240, 235. Now vectoring for intercept ILS Runway 05.
GIA 152: Roger, heading 235. GIA 152.
GIA 152: GIA 152 heading 235. Confirm we cleared from a ..... mountainous area?
MEDAN: Affirm sir! Continue turn left on heading 215.
GIA 152: On heading 215, GIA.
BOU 683: Good afternoon, approach. BOU 683 departed left turn
MEDAN: BOU 683 continue turn left on heading 120 initial 2000ft.
-- line missing in transcript ---
MEDAN: GIA 152, turn right heading 046, report established on localizer.
GIA 152: Turn right heading 040, GIA 152, check established.
MEDAN: Turning right sir.
GIA 152: Roger, 152.
MEDAN: 152, confirm you're making turning left now?
GIA 152: We are turning right now.
MEDAN: 152 OK, you continue turning left now.
GIA 152: A ...... confirm turning left? We are starting turning right now.
MEDAN: OK ...... OK.
MEDAN: GIA 152 continue turn right heading 015.
GIA 152: Aaaaaa. Allahu-Akbar.

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