A Lion Air flight crashed into a sea only minutes after its take off from Jakarta. All 189 people on board, including one child and two infants, have died in the accident. The crash occurred nearly 13 minutes after the Lion Air flight JT 610 took off from the Indonesian capital on Monday morning.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, was carrying 181 passengers, six crew members and two pilots. Shortly after take off, the flight made a request to air traffic control to return to base. However, it didn’t indicate any emergency. Soon, air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. According to radar, the Lion Air flight hadn’t turned back.
The crash has garnered worldwide attention, especially because the aircraft was brand new. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 had only become available for commercial use a year back. Lion Air had proudly announced in July that it was going to be the first airline in Indonesia to deploy the plane. The company had ordered 218 units.This particular aircraft had been operation since 15th August, 2018.
Bhavye Suneja, the captain of the plane, was an Indian national. He had more than 6000 fly hours, while his co-pilot, Harvino, had logged 5000 fly hours. The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Greater Jakarta at 6:21 am (local time). It was due to land in Pangkal Pinan, the largest city on the Indonesian island of Bangka at 7:30 am (local time).
Among the victims were 20 officials of the Indonesian ministry. They were returning to Pangkal Pinan after spending the weekend with their families in Jakarta.
Lion Air Plane Had Reported Technical Issues
According to Lion Air CEO Edward Strait, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 had reported problems the night before, when it flew from Denpasar to Jakarta. Strait said that engineers had inspected the aircraft and repaired the fault to make it fit for flying. He further added that the budget airline does not intent to ground other operational aircrafts of the same model.
Investigators have recovered debris, life vests and a cellphone in the sea, at a distance of two nautical miles from the crash site. They haven’t been able to locate the fuselage yet. They haven’t been able to confirm the exact cause of the tragic crash.
Meanwhile, Lion Air has offered two aircrafts to fly family members of the victims from Pangkal Pinan to Jakarta.