Human error was responsible for the crash of a Merpati Nusantara Airlines’ plane in West Papua in May, Indonesia’s Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi said on Wednesday.
Twenty-five people died when the MA-60 turboprop plane — one of a dozen purchased from China in controversial circumstances by the state-owned airline — crashed in bad weather in waters off Kaimana district.
“We have come to conclusion that it was a procedural error,” Freddy said in Jakarta on Wednesday. “[The accident] was not caused by equipment failure, but a procedural mistake in operating the plane that caused it.”
Freddy, speaking to journalists during a visit to the Senen train station, said the final report was almost complete and would be released soon.
The findings come despite the ministry previously demanding the airline adopt “stricter” safety regulations and ensure that “all pilots” comply with them.
Herry Bhakti Gumay, director general of aviation transportation at ministry, said on May 23 that previous accidents involving Merpati were caused by a lack of discipline in implementing safety and operational procedures.
Freddy said that regardless of the findings, the ministry would not revoke Merpati’s license.
“It has tried its best, so we will give it a chance,” Freddy said. “[Safety] depends on the individual [pilot].”