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Accident description
Last updated: 19 October 2017
Status:
Date:Friday 26 September 1997
Time:13:34
Type:Silhouette image of generic A30B model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A300B4-220
Operator:Garuda Indonesia Airways
Registration: PK-GAI
C/n / msn: 214
First flight: 1982-10-06 (15 years)
Total airframe hrs:27000
Cycles:16500
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-59A
Crew:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Passengers:Fatalities: 222 / Occupants: 222
Total:Fatalities: 234 / Occupants: 234
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:25 km (15.6 mls) SSW of Medan-Polonia Airport (MES) (   Indonesia)
Crash site elevation: 900 m (2953 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK/WIII), Indonesia
Destination airport:Medan-Polonia Airport (MES/WIMM), Indonesia
Flightnumber:GA152
Narrative:
Garuda Indonesia Airways flight GA152 from Jakarta to Medan, Indonesia, was destroyed after impacting terrain near Medan. All 234 occupants suffered fatal injuries.
The aircraft, an Airbus A300B4-220, was cleared for an ILS approach to Medan's runway 05 and was flying on a 316 degree heading on Airway 585/W12. Having descended to 3000 feet the crew were instructed to turn left, heading 240 degrees for vectoring to intercept the runway 05 ILS. The flight crew did not respond to this instruction, as the controller addressed the call to 'Merpati 152'. The instructions were repeated, this time using the correct call sign. The flight crew replied: "GIA 152 heading 235. Confirm we cleared from a (pause) mountainous area?"
At 13:28 the controller confirmed they were turning towards a mountainous area and the flight was instructed to continue on a 215 degree heading. At 13:30 ATC directed the flight to turn right heading 046 and report when established on the localizer.
Although the clearance for a right hand turn had been read back correctly, confusion on the part of the air traffic controller followed over whether GA152 was turning left or right: "152, confirm you're making turning left now?" Garuda 152 responded, as cleared, that they were turning right. The controller subsequently added to the confusion by stating: "152 OK, you continue turning left now."
This was contrary to the crew's expectations, so they enquired: "A (pause) confirm turning left? We are starting turning right now." The controller, possibly realising his error, replied: "OK (pause). OK..... GIA 152 continue turn right heading 015."
Ten seconds later, the Airbus impacted a wooded area, broke up and burst into flames. The wreckage covered a 150x75 m area near the village of Pancur Batu, which is located at 900-1000 meters amsl.
The region was affected by smog from forest fires; visibility was reported to be 600-800 meters.

Classification:
Low visibility

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» ATC Transcript GA152
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 06 October 1997 (40-41)
» Flight International 8-14 October 1997 (10)


Photos

photo of Airbus A300B4-220 PK-GAI
photo of Airbus A300B4-220 PK-GAI
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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Medan-Polonia Airport as the crow flies is 1389 km (868 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Airbus A300

  • 561 built
  • 16th loss
  • 6th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
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 Indonesia
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