The incident at 9.35am September 13, 2008 left the Malaysian pilot, co-pilot and 12 passengers of flight MH 3540 from Lawas shaken.
Former Limbang MP Mutang Tagal meanwhile expressed concern over the number of “near misses” involving planes plying rural routes in the state. He said the 19-seater DHC-6 Twin-Otter aircraft currently in service were well over 20 years old and in use by at least three different aviation companies.
After this incident, is DCA still going to approve aging aircraft to be use in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak?
So far there is no response from Malaysia Department of Civil Aviation.
Twin Otter flights to be rescheduled
KUCHING: MASwings flights will be rescheduled following the mishap in Ba’Kelalan in which one of its aircraft skidded off the runway upon landing.
The company said the move was necessary to ensure minimal disruption to flights.
“As a result of this incident, MASwings’ weekly capacity for the travelling public on Twin Otter services is reduced by 20%,” it said in a statement yesterday.
On Saturday, a Twin Otter aircraft flying from Lawas to Ba’kelalan ran off the runway after landing.
The 12 passengers and two crew onboard were reported to be safe.
MASwings said investigations were under way.
Further information on the airline’s schedule can also be obtained from the company’s 24-hour call centre at 1-300-88-3000 or by visiting its website www.maswings.com.my.
Former Limbang MP Mutang Tagal meanwhile expressed concern over the number of “near misses” involving planes plying rural routes in the state.
He said the 19-seater Twin-Otter aircraft currently in service were well over 20 years old and in use by at least three different aviation companies.
“That is why in recent years, we have encountered increasing cases of these aircraft suffering mishaps like overshooting the runway burst tyres upon landing, engine problems, crash-landing and the like,” he said in Miri yesterday.
“The aircraft are no longer capable of taking the strain of being flown so frequently in tough terrain.
He said MAS, which owns MASwings, has a good record of being stringent with maintenance and checks, there was only so much it could do to repair and replace the aged aircraft.
MASWings Twin Otter crashes in Ba Kelalan rice field
By Philip Kiew & Mohd Abdullah
Ba Kelalan: One of MASWings’ DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft crash-landed on a rice field here yesterday morning.
The incident at 9.35am left the Malaysian pilot, co-pilot and 12 passengers of flight MH 3540 from Lawas shaken.
The pilot was reported to be slightly injured.
Among those on board were Australians, Bruneians and local Lun Bawangs including Tagal Paran, the father of the late Datuk Dr Judson Sakai Tagal who was killed with six others in a helicopter crash near the foot of Mt Murud on July 12, 2005.
His other son, Mutang Tagal, a former MP of Bukit Mas, when contacted confirmed that his father was on board and was grateful to God that a tragedy has been averted.
Ba Kelalan assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining who visited the Department of Civil Aviation’s control tower in Lawas shortly after the incident, said the aircraft landed in the field, about 10 metres off the mid-section of the runway.
According to reliable sources, the aircraft flew too low as it made a turning approach to the runway, passing through the valley at Long Langgai, and landed short of the threshold level marker RWY 23.
It is not immediately known if one of the landing gears hit the perimeter fence but the descending aircraft barrelled down left and grinded to a halt in the soft field, miraculously missing the terminal building on the left at Buduk Nur.
The short take-off and landing (STOLport) airstrip is flanked by rice fields, apple farm and the terminal building on the left.
On the right are buildings of Kampung Buduk Nur.
Beyond the furthest end are hills and a stream.
The approach and landing is through the only opening at the end nearest the terminal building.
The cause of the incident is not immediately known and it is still under investigation by the Department of Civil Aviation, MAB and MASwings.
According to the locals, the weather was fine and the pilot knows the terrain and the airstrip.
Everyone scrambled out of the aircraft in a daze but was happy to be alive as shocked residents of Buduk Nur shook their heads at the near-miss.
Ba Kelalan assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said the incident was unexpected as the weather was fine but was thankful that everyone was safe and sound.
“MASwings said it would be sending a rescue aircraft with engineers this afternoon as the runway is not closed,” he said when contacted by telephone.
Managing director of MASwings, Dr Amin Khan, said there were no casualties, and MASwings’ general manager in Miri, Wan Abdul Rahim Ishak, confirmed that the incident did occur.
He said a rescue team of three engineers from MASwings was leaving Miri for Ba Kelalan at 2.45pm to get an overall picture of the incident.
All passengers on the affected flight from Ba Kelalan via Lawas will board the rescue team’s flight back to Miri, he said.
The engineers will check if the aircraft had any fault or damage, he said, adding that the extent of damage to the aircraft was not immediately known.
Wan also reported that there was no casualty, and that both pilots were Malaysians.
Malaysian Airport Bhd manager in Miri, Sunif Naiman, confirmed receiving a report on the incident, and said investigations by the Department of Civil Aviation were underway.
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
The DHC-6 Twin Otter is a 20-passenger STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It has often been called the most successful aircraft program in Canada's history. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and relatively high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and MEDEVAC aircraft. In addition, the Twin Otter has been popular with commercial skydiving operations.
Development of the aircraft began in 1964, with the first flight on 20 May 1965.
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