The two Bruneian survivors of the 7th March, Garuda flight GA 200 boeing 737-400 crash, arrived safely Saturday afternoon at Brunei International Airport. One of the survivors, Ak Shahrul recall his account on the crash during a doa selamat dan kesyukuran for his safe returns at his residence in Gadong;
‘As the airplane began her final descent towards Yogyakarta airport, I felt the plane was descending at a rather fast speed. Once the plane touches the runway, it forwarded bumpily at a very fast speed that it lift off back in the air. The plane continue this landing and taking off for several times before the airplane overshot pass the airport, over a main road and towards a field. It was at this time that I knew that the plane was going to crash. I was praying that the plane which at this stage tilting left and right to land safely. From here it was just silent until a loud bang upon impact. The plane had slammed the ground head first. Everything, the overhead compartment, panel and tray tables fell apart and hit many passengers. All I could hear was just screams and shrieks. At this stage, sitting next to the window I could see smoke and fire outside. My first reaction was immediately to get out before the plane explodes!’
‘I unbuckled my seat belt, asked my colleague, Awg. Sigar who was sitting next to me and a lady passenger next to the him to do the same, so we can escape. At this time, Awg. Sigar’s shoulder was injured and in pain from the impact. I scrummaged to take my notebook and ipod from underneath the seat but it was stuck and taking so much time. As passengers started to rush to emergency exit, I climbed on the seat and run towards the exit at the back. At the emergency exit without thinking of the height, I immediately jump out of the aircraft and land safely on the mud field. Awg. Sigar and the other lady passenger followed suit. On safe ground, I immediately contacted my family at home and the relevant authorities with my mobile phone.’
Me: Where were you sitting?
AkS: ‘We were sitting 3rd row from the back, row 22 and I was sitting on 22F, which was a window seat. We had a chance to be upgraded to the front but we refused opting instead to sit at the back. We were to attend a seminar at Yogyakarta and the Australian speakers were in the same plane. Most of the fatalities were at the front and mid-section of the aircraft. Many of the passengers suffered facial cuts and injury due to the speed during impact.’
Me: How long after the crash did u immediately get out of the plane?
AkS: I think around 2-3 minutes. It was all very fast.
I am surprised but grateful that he is recovering speedily and showed no sign of any traumatic effect. He confessed that he don’t have any fear of flying but prefers to stay on ground for a while. He willingly recall the mishap to other family members and even manage to crack a joke or two on how he should have his own PR, with many press trying to sit down with him.
I told him that him being alive is a miracle and a blessing. Syukur Alhamdulillah…
* The family would like to THANK the Brunei Government, the Brunei High Commission in Jakarta and the Indonesian Health and Military services for their help and support.