I felt socially responsible yesterday during the hype of the runway excursion at Kuching International Airport. Been at home at that time waiting for incoming visitor expected in a later flight, I was bored with pondering upon the irony of Satellite Technologies used by this dysfunctional country that does not work during rainy days. Embarked myself on checking into a @foursquare check-in shout about a plane crashed at Kuching International Airport.
In this age of information assimilation, Immediately, I checked upon information access that I have online on Civil Aviations, Weather reports and etc. Confirmation came in from twitter that a plane AK 5218(9) has crashed. Upon further checks with phone calls to friends working (non-MAHB/MAS/DCA/AirAsia) at the airport, I was told that a plane ran off the runway and nothing further.
Upon calling the airport, Information counter has no comment about what plane has crashed and was asked to check with respective airlines. However, one question was answered that the airport was temporarily closed!
It was that moment I sent a tweet to Dato Sri Tony Fernandes on confirming the “skidded and overrun” a. k. a. Runway Excursion. Minutes went by without any reply.
I contacted my newsroom and send in a short report. It was then that Dato Sri Tony Fernandes replied tweets that changes the decision on running the news.
“No overshoot or crash in kuching. On landing due to rain aircarft veered to the right and ended in grass. Captain did good job. All passengers safe and aircraft being recovered and towed. Will take a while due to soft soil. Try to get airport reopen by tomorrow morning.”
Pushing the reply online and answers questions based on information obtained from twitter and from ground crews at the airport, the closure of the Airport was confirmed and information about flight diversion started to flow in.
It was at 9am that the Transport Minister managed to hold a press conference about the closure of airport. However, the information which I have obtained from Dato Sri Tony’s tweet was been questioned by several members of public on Facebook. As the news started to flow in at 1am, It was confirmed by several passenger on board who has experienced through Facebook.
Information about a DUN member of Sarawak august house and spouse was also on board the ill-fated flight started to flow in at 1:30am.
Come this evening, staring at the information published by both MAS and AirAsia on their respective web site, details about the recovery work at the airport has stretched until 9pm. Phone calls into the Airport has not been fruitful as the Airport Information has decided to drop the phone and leave it rang the whole day.
There was no official information leading toward the reopening of the Airport. I took the initiative to publish over twitter and Facebook information I can obtained, notwithstanding that ground crew were no longer contactable. I turned to technology to achieve this. Logging into the publicly accessible Aviation information System (AIS) information on MAS web site, twitter and Facebook, I got a lead from a friend who has doubted about the reopening of the airport, he was scheduled to return to Kuching. Though the flight has been delayed by an hour, we are all anticipating the reopening of the airport will happened.
Through the AIS, I have managed to find out the status of the flight and convey the details over to twitter bringing in a closure to the whole charade. The Airport is now reopened and I shall leave it to the airlines to continue their job to restore their services back to normal
Though I am currently under the weather and have heaps of other more distressing things on my mind, plus this is actually not my good day, I managed to struggled through and make it happened. Though I am not getting paid anything for doing this, I would consider this my bit of contributions to the society from knowledge I have gained to keep the public informed of what has transpired and a bit on how I managed to pull it through.
Sinking into my slumber soon as the flu meds kicks in.
*** Information assimilation carried out above are all achieved via legitimate and publicly available channels. No Information was sourced from any personnels from the MAHB, DCA, AirAsia and MAS in the whole exercise.