IT IS hard to describe how sick I felt yesterday when I read those words — "ignored 15 alarms and pleas to abort a landing".
At once feelings of emptiness and horror filled me. How senseless, I thought, was this act by a Garuda pilot that resulted in the deaths of 21 people, including two friends, and which took my legs, shattered my spine, and burnt 60 per cent of my body.
I relive that horrific landing every day of my life. I hear the screams rising up from my throat as it became apparent to me and my fellow passengers something was not right. We knew we were going too fast, we knew we were going to crash, we thought we were going to die. Many of us did.
There must be a criminal investigation into the actions of the pilot and co-pilot who between them crashed that plane. Manslaughter charges must be laid against these people.
It boils my blood to hear of the unwillingness of the Indonesian crash investigators to co-operate with the police and hand over the relevant evidence so they can pursue the pilots.
People died. Lives were ruined. Somebody must be held accountable. We now have a report that implicitly points the finger at the two people who were in charge of that aircraft. They must be dealt with.
The Australian Government must do what it can to ensure Indonesian police are able to carry out their role in ensuring justice is done here. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says he wants to see a police investigation ensue from the report and he has asked Australian embassy officials in Jakarta to follow this up. Let's hope they see it through. Let's hope a history of diplomatic tiptoeing around the Indonesians does not hamper their efforts.
Five Australians were killed in this crash. I shared their last meal with two of them, I sat next to one of them on that plane. Good people, vivacious souls, with so much to live for. Their beautiful faces flash through my mind constantly.
We thought we were safe with Indonesia's national carrier, but we weren't. Garuda, which flies into Australia, must be held accountable if there were failings in pilot training.
A lot of things went wrong that day in March and somebody has to pay for it.
It's early days, but I can honestly say at this point, I have no forgiveness in my heart for those responsible.
Cynthia Banham is a Fairfax journalist and a survivor of the crash.
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