Stinky durian fruit grounds Indonesian passenger plane
Stinky durian fruit grounds Indonesian passenger plane
SIOBHAN DOWNESDurian known as the world's worst-smelling fruit
09 November, 2018, 15:05
Passengers booked on a Sriwijaya Air flight from Bengkulu province in Sumatra to Jakarta on Monday complained to staff after smelling the fruit and refused to get on the plane, repulsed by the pungent payload and concerned about the extra weight on board. Singapore has banned the fruit in its subway system, and many hotels ban durians because of the notorious smell - which some critics have likened to rotten food or dirty socks.
However the airline agreed to remove the fruit, and passengers disembarked while it was offloaded.
Passengers then exited the aircraft refusing to fly unless the durian was removed.
A reporter with the Indonesian media group Antara, who happened to be on the plane, said passengers became agitated upon encountering the scent of durian wafting through cabin before takeoff.
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Sriwijaya attempted to rationalize the airline's decision to take on two tons of the cargo by pointing out no laws were broken. His Facebook post about the incident has been shard more than 20,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon. "Many airlines do this", Retri Maya, senior corporate communications manager for Sriwijaya Airlines told the Jakarta post in a press statement.
Crew allegedly told him that the smell would go away once the flight was in the air. They all chanted back, "not us!'".
Responding to the incident, Pramintohadi Sukarno, acting director general for air transportation, said that "carrying durian, terasi (fermented shrimp paste), dried, salted fish and other stinky goods in a plane is not forbidden because they are not categorized as unsafe goods".
The report described an improper checklist procedure that failed to indicate the retracted flaps and slats of the plane and lead to the unsuccessful take-off that took the lives of passengers, crew as well as people on the ground.
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