GARUDA INDONESIA FLIGHT 152
September 26, 1997 234 dead: 222 passengers, 12 crew Jakarta – Medan Airbus A300B4
The Airbus was on its final approach to Polonia International Airport when it crashed into a ravine in tree-covered mountains 48 km south of Medan during low visibility caused by deliberately lit forest fires. The crash was due to several factors. There was miscommunication between an air traffic controller and the plane’s two pilots. The captain inputted the incorrect altitude descent into the autopilot, bringing the plane down to 1,500 feet, whereas he was supposed to descend to 2,000 feet. The captain turned left after being instructed to turn right. Also, the plane’s ground proximity warning system alarm was not working. Garuda still uses the GA-152 flight number, but now for the Jakarta - Batam route. Forest fires continue to be deliberately lit in Sumatra to clear land for oil palm plantations.