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Pilot of Ill-Fated Garuda Jet Absolved

Pilot Who Crashed Jet that Killed 21 Passengers in Yogya Wins Appeal Against Negligent Death Conviction.

(12/14/2009) Marwoto Komar, the pilot convicted of criminal negligence in the death of 21 passengers, including 5 Australians, in the March 2007 crash landing of a Garuda Boeing 737 at Yogyakarta's airport, is a free man now that the appeal courts in Indonesia have quashed his conviction and a 2 year prison sentence.

On appeal since his conviction in April 2009, Marwoto has been free on bail.

Despite evidence that Marwoto was landing at a high rate of speed and ignored 15 automated warning signals before he crashed and the jet burst into flames, the Indonesian High Courts have ruled that Marwoto's negligence was "not legally and convincingly proven." The Court's ruling makes Captain Marwoto a free man and, at least in principle, able to resume his aviation career.

Marwoto's lawyer, Mochtar Zuhdi, has told the press that the acquittal of his client was not subject to appeal.

Scores were injured in the crash. Among the 21 dead were five Australians: diplomat Liz O'Neill; Australian Financial Review journalist, Morgan Mellish; Australian AID official, Allison Sudrajat; and Australian Federal Police officers Mark Scott and Brice Steele.

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