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Garuda Crash Captain Charged with Manslaughter

Arrest of Pilot in March 2007 Crash That Killed 21 People Prompts Protest from National Pilots Association.

(2/16/2008) Indonesian police have finally filed criminal charges against Captain Marwoto Komar, the pilot in the left-hand seat of the ill-fated Garuda Boeing B-737-400 that crashed on landing at Yogyakarta's airport on March 7, 2007 claiming the lives of 21 and injuring many others.

Analysis of the flight voice and data recorders from the crashed airplane indicate the pilot ignored repeated warnings of impending danger as he landed the plane at nearly twice the safe landing speed before running off the runway and bursting into flames.

Arrest Protested by Pilots Association

Members of the Federation of Indonesian Pilots (FPI) have protested the arrest and indictment of Captain Komar, saying any mistakes made in the cockpit of an airplane should be decriminalized.

The FPI, in a mass meeting with members of the house of representatives in Jakarta, have warned the government of demoralization among their ranks and an even greater rate of exodus by pilots to foreign carriers that may result from Captain Komar's arrest.

In response, Indonesia's National Chief of Police, General Sutanto, has reminded the members of the FPI that evidence collected by his officers justify the criminal charges of manslaughter now pending against Captain Komar and that, in Indonesia, airplane pilots and automobile drivers can be charged with crimes whenever their actions result in the death of others.