Yogyakarta airshow turns tragic as two pilots die

An acrobatic T50i Golden Eagle jet belonging to the Indonesian Air Force has crashed while performing in the Yogyakarta Airshow 2015 at the Adisucipto International Airport, Yogyakarta, killing the two pilots on board.

Adisucipto Air Force commander Rear Marshal Imran Baidirus said that the aircraft crashed after performing a solo manoeuvre at 150 to 4,500 meters above the ground for 15 minutes. The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Marda Sarjono, died along with his co-pilot, Captain Dwi Cahyadi.

"The accident happened at 9.53 a.m. and the location of the crash was at the south part of the airport, or the eastern yard of the Air Force Academy. We have formed an investigative team to find out the cause of the incident," he said to journalists in Yogyakarta, on Sunday.

The two pilots, he said, were in prime condition and so was the South Korean-made jet, which was imported a year ago.

"Actually, the plane was equipped with a seat ejector, but it seemed like they did not have a chance to use it," Imran said.

The unfortunate pilot was the commander of Squadron 15, based at the Iswahyudi Air Base in Madiun, East Java. His body would be laid to rest in Madiun, while co-pilot Dwi's body would be given a funeral in his home-town, Yogyakarta.

The spokesperson of Adisucipto Air Base, Major Sus. Hamdi Londong, said that all of the acrobatic attractions were stopped after the incident took place.

"We must stop the attractions despite the public enthusiasm," he said.

However, the expo was still running to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Yogyakarta-based pilot school.