Indonesia withdraws aerobatic team from Langkawi airshow after mishap

PULAU LANGKAWI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's Air Force has pulled its aerobatic team from the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) following a mid-air crash between two participating aerobatic planes.

Four airmen managed to eject safely from the planes, but orders have been issued for the team to withdraw from the biannual event, First Marshall Indra Yadi said.

"The Indonesian Air Force will still be here for the event. Only the Jupiter Aerobatic Team will head back to Indonesia," he said on Sunday. "Accidents can happen anywhere and anytime. This incident does not dampen our spirits in flying."

The mishap took place at noon on Sunday when the two KT-1B Wong Bee aircraft belonging to Indonesia's Jupiter Acrobatic Team were rehearsing for Tuesday's show. The two planes reportedly clipped wings leading to the crash, but two pilots and their two passengers managed to eject safely.

One of the planes crashed in a forested area, while another crashed on a house in a nearby village.

"We feel terribly sorry for the owner of the house that our plane landed on. It was something beyond our control," First Marshall Indra said.

Police said all four pilots sustained light injuries, and were discharged on Monday.

Wreckage of one of the planes could be seen inside a rubber plantation while one parachute was seen hanging over power lines nearby.

A statement issued by LIMA organisers said investigations into the mishap would be carried out jointly the Malaysian and Indonesian air forces.