JAKARTA: A foreign pilot has been suspended from flying after landing an Indonesian passenger jet at the wrong airport in a "serious" breach of safety, a transport-ministry spokesman said yesterday.
The Sriwijaya Air plane, carrying 96 passengers and six crew members, was meant to land at Minangkabau International Airport in the Indonesian city of Padang but, instead, descended into the Tabing air-force base some 12km away.
"This incident was very serious and very dangerous for passenger safety as (the plane) landed at the wrong airport," spokesman Bambang Ervan said, adding that a probe by the aviation- safety watchdog is under way.
He said the pilot of the jet, which left Medan in the North Sumatran province for the short flight to Padang last Saturday, has been suspended from duty.
He did not reveal the pilot's nationality.
"For the time being, we won't allow him to fly and he is expected to give an explanation to the aviation-safety department today," he said.
Air-traffic officials at Minangkabau airport are under investigation for their role in the blunder, he added.
Indonesia has a chequered aviation-safety record, with several deadly crashes in recent years across the massive archipelago, where air travel is essential to reach outlying areas. (AFP)
Bungling kidnappers grab wrong boy
MALAYSIA: A gang of kidnappers goofed up and carried off the wrong boy. Instead of kidnapping the son of a retaurant owner, they grabbed the son of the man who only manages the restaurant and worked for a paltry salary.
However, they decided to bring down the ransom demand so the father of the kidnapped son could meet their demand, reports New Straits Times. The desperate father decided to pay up and credited the amount in the account of one of the suspects.
Police officials who were monitoring the action from behind the scenes nabbed five suspects, including a couple, in Butterworth, Penang and Batu Caves, Selangor, five days after the boy was kidnapped.
Superglue mum gets 99 years
WASHINGTON: A Texas judge has sentenced a mother who superglued her toddler's hands to a wall to 99 years in prison, local media reported.
During the September 2011 assault on her two-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Escalona also beat the girl into a coma, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The 23-year-old mother of five had pleaded guilty in July to felony injury to a child.
"I hit her, I kicked her constantly, and she didn't deserve that," the newspaper's crime blog quoted Escalona as saying in court last week. "Only a monster does that."
According to the blog, the abuse -- which resulted in bleeding of the girl's brain -- appeared to be over potty training.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Larry Mitchell said Escalona needed to be punished for savagely beating her child "to the edge of death."
The daughter survived and, according to testimony referenced by the blog, is doing well.
The Los Angeles Times website quoted Debbie Denmon, spokeswoman for the Dallas County district attorney's office, as saying Escalona "wasn't sorry for what she did. She was sorry for herself, not the child she tortured."
Escalona will have to serve 30 years before she becomes eligible for parole, Denmon told The Times.
Australians concerned about suspected child abuse or neglect can make a report by phoning the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111. (AFP)
Teenager hit by raw chicken falling from the sky
UK: A bizarre rain of poultry pieces on a teenager left a horse riding student flummoxed.
As the horse riding lesson was on, the instructor and the student were hit by three pieces of chicken - two large and a very small one, reports Metro.co.uk.
According to an expert quoted by the daily, high-flying gulls carrying chicken in their mouths are probably to blame.
The riding lesson, needless to mention, was aborted right after the weird incident.
Teenage girl whipped in public for speaking to men
MALI: A teenaged girl received 60 lashes in Timbuktu after she was convicted for speaking to men on the street.
The girl, about 15 years old, was allegedly caught standing alongside men in Timbuktu.
"The girl was warned five times by police but she continued to speak to men in the street. After the hearing, they gave 60 lashes to the girl. The population did not turn out in large numbers to attend this flogging," said Ousmane Maiga, a Timbuktu resident contacted by phone from Bamako.
The public whipping took place at around 11 a.m. local time in front of the new headquarters of the police in downtown Timbuktu, next to Independence Square. (AP)