Indonesian pilots in good spirits despite crash

Indonesian pilots in good spirits despite crash

LANGKAWI - While the Indonesian aerobatic team will be sad to withdraw from participating in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA '15) following a dramatic crash, they were happy that the Malaysian authorities have provided them with excellent service.

The four pilots and crew said they have already put the incident behind them.

Major Muhaidi Syarif and Major Sri Raharjo, both 37, from the Jupiter Aerobatic Team of the Indonesian Air Force, are now waiting for orders for their next assignment.

"We are feeling better and we feel lucky that none of us sustained any serious injuries.

"Our gratitude goes out to the Langkawi Hospital and the Malaysian Government for the good treatment," Muhaidi said at the hospital yesterday.

He declined to give details on what happened, saying that investigations were still ongoing.

Both of them were each piloting two KT-1B Woongbi aircraft during an aerial display rehearsal on Sunday when their aircraft wings clipped each other, resulting in a fiery crash.

Two others - First Marshall Indra Yadi, 51, and Lieutenant Colonel Arief Hartono, 44, - joined the pilots as observers.

One aircraft crashed into a house in Kampung Gelam while the other landed at a forest near Kampung Darat Benta, both in Kedawang here.

Indra said his superiors have ordered the Jupiter aerobatic team to return to Indonesia, but the Indonesian Air Force will still be here for LIMA.

"We might have recovered from our minor injuries, but psychologically, we might still be affected. We feel sorry for not being able to perform this year," he said.

Indra, who is also the commander of the Yogyakarta air base and a former member of the aerobatic team, said the incident will not dampen the pilots' spirit in flying.

He also conveyed his apologies to the owner of the house into which one of the planes crashed.

Langkawi Hospital director Dr Mansor Ismail said the four airmen have recovered from their injuries and were discharged at 2pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, Abu Mutalib Said, 74, who fainted when he saw the aircraft crashing onto his son's house, is now in a stable condition.

However, he is still traumatised over the incident and is now undergoing counselling sessions.

Professional counsellor Wan Su Haron said it would take up to a week to help Abu Mutalib get over the incident.

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