A chartered private jet crashed on a busy highway in Shah Alam, killing all onboard the aircraft and two motorists on the ground.
Airplane crashes are always shocking and tragic in their own right, but when they claim additional lives on the ground, a relatively rare occurrence, it’s even worse.
Yesterday, August 17, a chartered Beechcraft 390 aircraft, registration number N28JV, flying from Langkawi to Subang Airport, slammed into the Guthrie Highway near the township of Elmina in Selangor, about two minutes before it was scheduled to land. All six passengers and two crew members died in the crash, along with two motorists on the highway.
Following the incident, several dashcam videos which recorded the fiery crash appeared on social media. It is unclear at this point if these videos will aid authorities in determining the cause of the crash. No mayday call was made from the distressed aircraft.
Pilot Shahrul Kamal Roslan’s last words to his mother, “Adik sayang mama,” (“I love you, mama”) were recounted in a heartbreaking interview with CNA. Mahanum Ismail, said of her son, “He was a mama’s boy and the last time I spoke to him was when I was admitted to the (Tuanku Mizan Military) hospital, the day before I had a surgery … before hanging up the phone, he told me that he loved me,” she said while holding back tears outside the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital forensic department in Klang, Selangor.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), the plane, which was operated by Jet Valet Sdn Bhd, departed from Langkawi International Airport at 2:08 pm bound for Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang.
Among the dead was first-term Pelangai state assemblyman and Pahang exco member Datuk Seri Johari Harun.
The others were pilots Shahrul Kamal Roslan and Heikal Aras Abdul Azim, along with passengers Kharil Azwan Jamaludin, Shaharul Amir Omar, Mohamad Naim Fawwaz Mohamed Muaidi, Muhammad Taufiq Mohd Zaki and Idris Abdol Talib @ Ramali.
A car driver and a motorcyclist were also killed on the ground in the impact. Their identities have not yet been released.
Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Hussein Omar Khan said the incident occurred at 2.40pm yesterday. Timestamps on a number of dashcam videos showed 2:49pm.
“The aircraft which took off from Langkawi was cleared to land at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang when it lost communication with the control tower,” he said. “The aircraft crashed onto the road here and hit a car and motorcycle.”
Following a search operation, all of the victims’ remains were recovered and transported to a nearby hospital. Authorities stated that only one body – that of the motorcyclist – was recovered intact, a testament to the devastating impact.
ECHOES OF THE PAST
Thursday’s crash was not the first air tragedy to occur in the small township. In a discomfiting historical resonance, the August 17 crash in Shah Alam’s Bandar Elmina area revives memories of a similar tragic incident 46 years ago.
On September 27, 1977, Japan Airlines (JAL) flight 715, en route from Tokyo via Hong Kong to what was then called Subang International Airport, once Kuala Lumpur’s primary aviation gateway, met a devastating fate. The McDonnell Douglas aircraft crashed into a hillside during its descent, igniting a fierce blaze upon impact. The wreckage found its final resting place in a rubber plantation, previously known as the Elmina Estate, now a precursor to the Bandar Elmina township.
The 1977 incident claimed 34 lives among the 69 passengers and 10 crew members aboard, while 43 individuals survived. This event marked Malaysia’s deadliest aviation tragedy at the time, a title soon eclipsed by the Malaysian Airline System (MAS) flight 653 crash in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, just two months later, which claimed 100 lives.
Preliminary investigations into Thursday’s fatal crash are underway.
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