IO – Tens of accidents involving the National Army have occurred within the past six years. Hundreds of our soldiers died in these accidents, which involving all three Land, Air, and Naval forces.
One of these recent accidents with the highest number of victims was the crash of Hercules C-130 airplane with registration A-1310, belonging to the Air Force at Jalan Jamin Ginting, Medan, Province of North Sumatra, on 30 June 2015. The plane was 50 years old when it crashed. 122 people died in the accident: 12 crew members and 110 passengers, comprising of Armed Forces members and their families.
This high number of passengers was caused by the soldiers’ intent to celebrate Eid-el-Fitr in their hometown with their families. However, then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Agus Supriatna, declared that the cause of the accident was not an overload. Investigations revealed the accident trigger as engine failure. The pilot, Captain Sandy Permana, was the best graduate of the Air Force Unit Command School class of 1997. He became aware that the right engine stopped just two minutes after takeoff from the Soewando Airport, Medan. He tried to return to base for safety, but failed after his best effort and the plane crashed in a residential area during the return attempt.
Another accident involving the Air Force’s weaponry system occurred to the Hawk Mk209 airplane with tail number TT 0209 in Kampar, Riau on 15 June 2020. The plane crashed and hit two homes. The pilot successfully ejected the plane and survived, and there were no casualties from the local citizenry as the houses crushed by the plane was empty at the time. In an earlier case, two planes from the Jupiter Aerial Aerobics team of the Air Force crashed during a weaponry system exhibition in Langkawi, Malaysia, in 2015. The four pilots and co-pilots of the two planes survived.
The Land Force weaponry system suffered a series of accidents of the same type: MI-17 helicopters crashed in Oksibil, Papua, in 2019 with 12 casualties, and again in Kendal, Central Java, in 2020 with 5 casualties. These accidents caused a flight ban on all MI-17 helicopters during the course of investigation. The Kendal accident, which occurred during practice session, was triggered by several factors. “Several of the plane’s components were sub-standard, and the flight practice itself was not managed well,” said Brigadier General Sudarji, the head of the investigation team at the time, in an official report on 26 October 2020.
Another helicopter accident also occurred to Bell-205 A1 in the Special Region of Yogyakarta on 8 July 2016. The old American helicopter produced in 1977-1978 crashed when it was used to secure Jokowi’s visit to Yogyakarta. After the accident that killed three, the Army stopped the operations of eight Bell-205’s due to old age. Also in 2016, another accident involving a helicopter belonging to the Armed Forces Flight Center in Poso. A Bell-412 EP helicopter carrying 13 members of the Armed Forces crashed during a chase of East Indonesia Mujahidin network terrorist and killed all its passengers on 20 March 2016.
Other than accidents involving helicopters, an accident involving a tank also occurred. Tank M113, which carried Kindergartners and Nursery School children for the purpose of outdoor introduction to the Armed Forces in Purworejo, Central Java. The tank crashed into the Bogowonto River on 10 March 2018, killing a soldier and a teacher.
The Navy suffered from two offshore accidents before the sinking of the KRI Nanggala-402. On 14 July 2020, the ship KRI Teluk Jakarta-541 sunk in the waters Northwest of Kangean Island, East Java. The 41-yearold ship sunk because it sprung a leak during high waves as it executed a naval support operation for shifting logistics to the Eastern region. 54 stranded crew members of the KRI Teluk Jakarta-541 were rescued by KM Tanto Sejahtera that was sailing near the site of the sinking. Another crew member was rescued by the crew of the ship KM Dobonsolo, belonging to PT Pelni.
On 11 September 2018, KRI Rencong-622, which has served the Naval Force since 1979, burnt and sank in the waters of Sorong, West Papua. All of the survivors were evacuated to the Armada III Base of the Navy nearby. (eka)