Most of Indonesia’s airline accidents have involved pilots who tested positive for drugs, including a Lion Air jet that slammed into the sea four years ago while trying to land on the tourist island of Bali, the chief of the national narcotics agency said.
The comments are another blow to the image of the country’s airline industry after a video circulated online last month showing an apparently intoxicated pilot in the cockpit of a Citilink passenger plane.
News reports this week said two pilots of another airline, Susi Air, owned by the country’s fisheries minister had recently tested positive for drugs.
“Almost all air accidents in Indonesia, whether it was just a skid or whatever, the pilots are indicated to be positive for drugs,” Waseso told reporters.
Earlier in the day he told the event attended by Bali’s governor that a Lion Air pilot in the spectacular 2013 crash had “hallucinated” that the sea was part of the runway.
His comments are at odds with other official accounts. After the crash, which miraculously caused no fatalities among the 108 people on board, the transport ministry said the pilots had not tested positive for drugs. The final report blamed the accident, which occurred in rain, on poor communication between the pilots and inadequate trading.
Lion Air, the National Transport Safety Committee and the Ministry of Transport declined to comment.