Garuda Pilots Blame 'Huge Gust of Wind' for Crash

The pilots have told Indonesian authorities that wind caused the plane to hit the runway hard before it exploded.


The Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner, Mick Keelty, says the pilots of the Garuda Airlines plane that crashed in Indonesia yesterday are blaming a huge gust of wind for the accident.

The two pilots of the plane have been interviewed about the accident.

The plane crashed after landing at Yogyakarta airport, killing more than 20 people.

Five Australians are still missing, presumed dead.

Mr Keelty has told Channel Nine the pilots have told Indonesian authorities that wind caused the plane to hit the runway hard before it exploded.

"They say that there was some interference with the landing and that was a natural interference caused by a huge gust of wind that took the plane off track as it came into landing," he said.

"Obviously they too would have been in shock at the time of interview.

"We need to make sure that the evidence that is gathered by the Indonesian international police and our joint team is corroborated by other evidence."

Australian disaster teams are now working at Yogyakarta's morgue, helping to identify bodies from the crash.

AFP officers have also joined Indonesian investigation teams at the site where Garuda Flight 200 crashed.

Indonesia's national police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto says a temporary conclusion has been reached that the crash was caused by human error.

Meanwhile, the medical superintendent of the Royal Darwin Hospital says no more flights carrying people injured in the crash will be arriving in Darwin.

Two Australian Air Force officers who survived yesterday's crash arrived in Darwin earlier tonight.

Michael Hatton, 47, and Kyle Quinlan, 23, landed at the RAAF base and were taken to Royal Darwin Hospital.

Flight Sergeant Hatton has a dislocated shoulder and is being treated for his injuries.

Officer Quinlan is also receiving treatment for bruises sustained in the crash.

The hospital's Len Notaras says no further help is needed from Australia.

"The request to treat them at this stage has been very gracefully and gratefully declined, with the Indonesian hospital system using its own best clinical practice to continue treating them," he said.

An Australian journalist who suffered serious burns and spinal injuries in the plane crash could take years to recover fully.

Cynthia Banham, who worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, has undergone surgery at Royal Perth Hospital and remains in a serious but stable condition.

Dr Suzanne Rea from the hospital's burns unit would not comment on Ms Banham's surgery, but says people with severe burns face a long recovery process.

"A major burn will take years to heal and people who come in with a major burn do not come out fully cured from their burn injury, they will have ongoing rehabilitation, a physiotherapist or a scar management team," she said.

"Our entire allied health team are involved for a long time over that period of time so it can be on for several years."



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