The Indonesian Air Force has used two of its new Russian built fighter jets to intercept an Australian plane that had violated its airspace. A spokesman for the Indonesian air force, First Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, said the civilian plane was detected on Wednesday morning by radar off southern Maluku in eastern Indonesia. The aircraft, a Beechcraft 95, had departed from Darwin and was travelling to Cebu in the Philippines.
The plane was forced to come down in Manado, in North Sulawesi, after two Sukhoi fighter jets were scrambled from Makassar airbase to intercept it. The plane is owned by South Australian businessman Richard Maclean, who authorities said was on board, while another man flew the plane. The pair were quizzed by military investigators before being handed over to airport authorities for further questioning, another air force spokesman, Hadi Cahyanto, said.
“They don’t have a letter of clearance allowing them to enter Indonesian airspace,” he said.
“But because they are civilians, not military, we have handed them over to the airport authorities for investigation.”
The men have been questioned and their papers checked but it is unclear whether they will face any charges.