This Pilot Made an Emergency Landing in a Shallow River

737 cruises high above the islands of Indonesia. The crew of Garuda Indonesia
421 is about halfway through a short domestic flight. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] INTERPRETER: We
were at 28,000 feet, on the way to Adisutjipto
Airport in Yogyakara. NARRATOR: Captain Abdul Rozak is
a senior pilot with Indonesia’s National Airline. How does the weather
look in Yogyakarta? NARRATOR: His first
officer is Harry Gunawan. She’ll be fine, but there
might be a bit of rain. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] INTERPRETER: I had flown several
times with Harry Gunawan, so it was nothing new. We knew each other quite well. NARRATOR: January is
the rainy season, when the weather is unpredictable. Let’s avoid that cell. Say, heading 300. Control, Garuda 421
requests heading 3-0-0 to avoid some weather up ahead. Garuda 421, confirmed. Heading 3-0-0. Fly direct to bravo alpha
NDB after clearing weather. NARRATOR: Air traffic
control authorizes a slight course correction
to steer the plane around some looming clouds. But soon more large storm
clouds appear in their path. What do you think? [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] INTERPRETER: I
could see the green, yellow, and red on the radar. And I knew that the safest route
would be towards the green. NARRATOR: But moments later, the
weather is suddenly much worse. Where did this come from? NARRATOR: The captain
spots a serious problem. Yes, sir. One and two are dropping. NARRATOR: They’re suddenly
losing engine power. Captain Rosaq struggles
to keep the plane steady as the altitude starts to drop. With his plane falling fast
and no other option in sight, captain Rosaq decides
to do something few pilots have ever tried. OK. The river then. It’s our best chance. Yes, sir. Tell me what to do. Low gear. No flaps. Watch my speed. NARRATOR: The Solo River
is narrow and twisting. Ditching a 737 on
it won’t be easy. [GRUNTS] Speed! 1-7-0, sir! That’ll do. NARRATOR: As they line
up with the river, First Officer Gunawan
notices another problem. There’s another bridge! Altitude? 250! Bridge can’t be
more than 80 feet. We’re good. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] INTERPRETER: It turns
out I had to land the plane between two bridges. 150! Warn the cabin. Brace for landing. Brace for landing! Brace for landing! Everyone! Brace for landing! NARRATOR: Flight
421 hits the water at almost 200 miles an hour. [GRUNTING] Of the 60 passengers and
crew on board, all but one make it out alive.

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