Thursday, October 04, 2012

United States Pilot Freed After Days Detained in Kalimantan

Indonesian Air Force members search Cessna 208 pilot Michael A. Boyd after forcing him to land at Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan on Sunday. The aircraft entered Indonesian airspace without proper documents.
(Antara Photo)
 Photo Credit: Jakarta Globe Reported News.

Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Authorities here on Thursday released a United States pilot they had detained since Sunday for transgressing Indonesian airspace, officials said.

Michael A. Boyd was arrested on Sunday after Air Force planes forced him to land in Balikpapan on board his Cessna 208 aircraft. The American did not have clearance to fly into Indonesian airspace.

Col. Djoko Putroseno, the commander of the Balikpapan military airbase, released Boyd at 10:00 a.m. after he officially obtained a security clearance from the government.

Boyd took off and headed for Singapore, Djoko said.

“This morning at around 9:00 a.m. the clearance documents were issued, so therefore we do not want to hinder anyone and we have released him,” Djoko said.

Rustino, the head of the airport authority at Balikpapan’s Sepinggan Airport, where the airbase is also located, said Boyd had completed all the administrative requirements, including getting the necessary clearance and paying landing fees. Djoko said Boyd had also apologized for having entered Indonesian airspace without the necessary permits.

The airbase commander added that while keeping him in custody over the past four days, Boyd had been well treated.

“We want to leave a good impression on Michael while he was under detention so that when he goes home, he can say that he was well treated,” Djoko said.

Boyd entered Indonesian airspace near the northern tip of Sulawesi island, en route to Singapore. He told the Indonesian Air Force he only had clearance to fly over the airspace of Singapore and Malaysia, and that he had been forced to fly over Indonesia's Gorontalo province due to bad weather.

The US pilot said he was delivering a new airplane ordered by a Papuan businessman. There were no more details on the aircraft owner, other than he was identified as “Mr. Bus.”

Story, comments and photo: