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JAKARTA: A plane carrying 145 passengers flew for hours without navigation and communications systems over Indonesia before making a safe emergency landing, reports said on Sunday.
The systems on the Boeing 737-300 of Indonesian regional airline Adam Air broke down 20 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s international airport at 6:20 am on Saturday (2320 GMT Friday), the Kompass newspaper reported.
The pilot flew the plane, which also had seven crew, without knowing where he was going for about four hours over the main island of Java after discovering the problem. The pilot decided to make an emergency landing at 10:45 am after sighting a runway on the eastern island of Sumba which was only 1,800-metres (about 6000- feet) long, the daily said quoting aircraft crew.
Boeing 737-300s usually need at least 2,200 metres to land and takeoff. No-one onboard the plane, which had been bound for the South Sulawesi province capital of Makassar, was injured.
Passengers were not told of the problems during the flight, Kompass said, although many suspected something was wrong as the plane kept changing altitudes.
«How would we not be worried after hours of going around and no announcement from the stewardesses or the pilot about what was happening,» passenger Made Aming said.
«We only knew that the airplane continued to go around sometimes at high altitude, sometimes it was going to descend but then it would climb up again,» Aming said.
He described the landing as like being in «a speeding car when one of the tyres suddenly bursts.»
«We are lucky the brakes were good because after we stepped out, the airport turned out to be small and not the type for large aircrafts like ours to land.»
Passengers were later flown to Makassar after planes were sent to the area from West Timor’s airport. An investigation into the incident has been launched and the government will demand a report from both Adam Air and Boeing, the newspaper quoted a transport official as saying. Adam Air’s management could not be reached for comment on Sunday.