Saturday, June 08, 2019

Revisiting Air crash that altered Sabah’s history

From the Star Online:

Air crash that altered Sabah’s history

by philip golingai

It was the first day of Hari Raya but Iskandar Salleh was not in a celebratory mood. The 48-year-old Sabahan had his late dad on his mind.

The second day of Hari Raya was the 43rd anniversary of the Double Six air crash that killed his father, Datuk Salleh Sulong, the state Finance Minister. At that time, Iskandar was five years old and his father was 38.

On Thursday, during the memorial service at the Double Six monument where the plane crashed in Sembulan near Kota Kinabalu, Iskandar wished that he could turn back time and that the crash had never happened.

“It would be good to know my father as I was growing up. I never knew him,” he said.

On June 6, 1976, a twin-engine turboprop Nomad N-22B aircraft carrying the Sabah Chief Minister and several state ministers, assemblymen and senior government officials, dropped from the sky above Kota Kinabalu.

Apart from Salleh, the dead were Sabah Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens, Datuk Peter Mojuntin (Local Government and Housing Minister), Chong Thain Vun (Communications and Works Minister), Darius Binion (assistant to the Chief Minister), Datuk Wahid Peter Andu (permanent secretary to the Finance Ministry), Syed Hussein Wafa (director of the Economic Planning Unit), Johari (Fuad’s son), Captain Gandhi Nathan (the pilot), Corporal Said Mohammad (Fuad’s bodyguard) and Ishak Atan (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s executive assistant).

Iskandar (left), his sister Kartina and her husband at the Double Six monument in Kota Kinabalu

As a Sabahan, I have many unanswered questions about the Double Six tragedy.

What caused the crash?

Was it faulty design, as the aircraft was sometimes known as the widow maker?

Was it pilot error and aircraft overload?

Did an air traffic control officer tell the pilot of the plane, flying 50 minutes from Labuan island, to hover above the Kota Kinabalu International Airport until he was permitted to land?

Why were a few passengers asked to change planes at the last minute?

Was it sabotage because the Sabah chief minister was negotiating the state’s oil rights with the Federal Government?

Philip Golingai wrote on this air crash in 2013, and I posted my take on the story, as follows (no change to original):

Conspiracy theory on Tun Fuad Stephens' fatal flight


  1. Hussein Onn was Prime Minister then.
    Was Hussein Onn complicit in mass murder?

  2. Another side of the story....

    The Australian Nomad aircraft was well known in the aviation industry as being uncontrollable under certain flight situations.
    The Australian government never admitted the issue, as it would open the GAF to serious illegal liabilities.
    Nevertheless, production was terminated in 1985, well before its expected life span and almost none are flying today.

  3. I am disappointed Toonsie or LKS were not mentioned in this tragic ACCIDENT.

    1. Even though it was 1976, and Mahathir was not the PM, Ah Mok already said before Hussein Onn was just a lame duck .
      I am sure a "Mahathir is Evil" angle can and will be found.