U.S. Naval pilot forced to land by Indonesian pilots

US navy pilot Lt. Cmr. James Patrick Murphy is escorted by Indonesian Air Force personnel after he was forced to land his plane at Juwata Airport in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, on Monday. Two Air Force Sukhoi jets intercept Murphy’s Cirrus SR-20 aircraft in Indonesian airspace for not having clearance. (Antara/Fadlansyah via Jakarta Post)

On Monday, a U.S. Navy pilot was forced to land his plane by Indonesian authorities for flying over the country’s airspace without authorization.

According to ABC, James Patrick Murphy was on his way to Singapore when he was forced to land his plane by the Indonesian Air Force.

Murphy was flying a Cirrus SR-20 aircraft over the Sulawesi Sea without authorization when he was detected on radar by the Indonesian Air Force. Two Sukhoi jets were sent to intercept Murphy’s plane, forcing him to land at Juwata International Airport in Tarakan.

Murphy is currently on leave from Honolulu, Hawaii. He identified himself to Indonesian authorities as a member of the United States Navy and tried to explain why he was in Indonesian airspace.

According to Lt. Col. Andi Gunawan, a spokesman for the Indonesian military, Murphy told them that his flight plan had him going through the Republic of Kiribati, Micronesia, and the Philippines, before landing in Singapore. Passing through Indonesia was a backup plan for Murphy if there was bad weather over the South China Sea.

The problem with Murphy’s flight plan is that he never got a permit allowing him to fly in Indonesian airspace.

Murphy is currently being held at Tarakan airport in North Kalimantan.

“We let him take a rest in the lodge but always under tight guard,” Gunawan told journalists.

According to Gunawan, Murphy can continue his journey as soon as he has all the necessary permits. The permits needed include flight approval, an exit permit, and security clearance.

The U.S. embassy in Jakarta is currently working on getting Murphy the permits.


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