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Australians among victims in Garuda crash -

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Australians among victims in Garuda crash

Broadcast: 07/03/2007

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

The Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has confirmed five Australians are now missing after
a Garuda Airlines plane crashed on landing at Yogyakarta airport in Indonesia.


TONY JONES: Grave fears are held for five Australians still missing from the Garuda Airline flight
that crash-landed in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta today. Survivors have reported a fire
breaking out after the plane skidded 300 metres past the end of the runway and into a rice paddy.
Of the 140 on board, at least 22 have died, although some estimates put the toll as high as 49. Tom
Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Surviving an air crash is remarkable enough. Cameraman Wayan Sukarda did more than
that. He dragged himself from the wreckage, picked up his camera and began filming these images.
His fellow survivors stumble about in confusion or simply collapse in pain. Within minutes, the
first emergency services personnel arrive on foot. Then, from the burning aircraft, come a series
of explosions. Soon the emergency effort is in full swing. The road you can see here is at the end
of the runway, giving some idea of how far the airliner overshot.

Fairfax journalist Mark Forbes was in Yogyakarta and spoke to two Air Force officers who survived
the crash.

MARK FORBES, THE AGE, INDONESIA CORRESPONDENT: They said they knew they were coming in too fast to
land and were amazed that anyone in the seats further in front of them got out. They were just
engulfed by flames.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: They themselves thought the plane would never stop in
the length of the runway and it dually didn't. It just ploughed across the end of the runway,
across a road, hit a bank and a culvert and went into a paddy field and when it hit the bank and
the culvert it exploded.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Yogyakarta strip is reportedly notoriously rutted and difficult to land on,
partly as a result of a large earthquake there in May.

As the hospitals began filling with survivors suffering burns, broken bones and deep cuts, first
hand accounts began to trickle out of the chaos inside the cabin as the plane crash landed.

SANTI, CRASH SURVIVOR: They were screaming, they were just screaming whatever, I don't know. Then
we touched the runway and I feel there was bumping and then finally I just see the fire everywhere
inside the airplane.

TOM IGGULDEN: Before long, the news had reached the Prime Minister.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: Given the severity of the crash and the following fire and the like,
it's a situation where we should be prepared for bad news.

TOM IGGULDEN: The 10 Australians were mostly journalists and government officials.

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Most of whom were on their way to Yogyakarta as part of a visit the
attorney-general of Australia and I were making to Yogyakarta during the course of today.

TOM IGGULDEN: Five are still missing, The Australian Financial Review's Indonesia correspondent
Morgan Mellish, and a diplomat Liz O'Neill. The two are reportedly close friends. Also missing are
two Australian Federal Police agents, Brice Steele and Mark Scott, both based in the AFP's Jakarta

ALEXANDER DOWNER: We are sending a disaster victim identification group from the Australian Federal
Police to assist the Indonesian authorities. We are sending also an emergency response team during
the course of this afternoon.

TOM IGGULDEN: Two medical teams are on their way to Jakarta evacuate victims, as Darwin Hospital
prepares to accept up to 70 critically-ill survivors of the crash. One is Cynthia Banham, a
journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, who underwent surgery this afternoon. Her doctor says she
is suffering severe burns, a back injury and a possible renal injury. Cynthia Banham and another
two patients were due to touch down tonight in Darwin.