Indonesian Air Force compels foreign aircraft to land in Tarakan

The Indonesian Air Force`s radar detected the Cessna aircraft, which was heading to Singapore.
Balikpapan (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Air Force forced a Cessna propeller engine aircraft, bearing registration number N96706 and piloted by US Navy Lieutenant Colonel James Patrick Murphy, to land at 2:31 p.m. local time in Tarakan, North Kalimantan.

"The aircraft entered the Indonesian air space, and we forced the pilot to land by deploying two Sukhoi jet fighters from the Makassar National Air Defense Headquarter," Head of the Information Department of VI Regional Military Command Colonel Andi Gunawan stated here on Monday.

The Sukhoi jet fighters, which were piloted by Lieutenant Commander Anton Pallaguna and Lieutenant Commander Baskoro, successfully intercepted the Cessna that crossed the border line of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The Indonesian Air Forces radar detected the Cessna aircraft, which was heading to Singapore.

Additionally, Andi confirmed that no Indonesian jet fighter was on standby at the Tarakan airbase.

"The pilot of the foreign aircraft is being closely interrogated at the AirNav Office of Juwata Airbase, Tarakan," Andi remarked.

Andi emphasized that the Indonesian Air Force will take action against any unidentified foreign aircraft that enters its air space.

Previously, the 225 Radar Unit at Tarakan Airbase had contacted the Makassar National Air Defense Headquarter regarding the air space violation.

"The interceptors from Makassar directly pursued the unidentified foreign aircraft and successfully forced the civilian aircraft to land," Andi explained.

According to an initial investigation, the Cessna aircraft was piloted by a US Navy Reserve who was on leave. He took off from Hawaii to the Philippines and was headed to Singapore.

However, he violated the Indonesian air space during the flight to Singapore.

"The recent information from Tarakan Airbase is that the investigation has been conducted. We are awaiting the coordination results from the Foreign Affairs Ministry whether the flight permit has been changed," Andi claimed.(*)