Indonesia's Lion Air says one of its jets has crashed into sea

Andrew Cummings
October 29, 2018

The budget airline's aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, a child, two babies with two pilots and five flight attendants, Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said, adding that the National Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, and the Ministry of Transportation were "handling" the situation.

Wreckage had been found near where the plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency said.

Syaugi said the search and rescue teams had come from Jakarta, Bandung and Lampung and were headed to Tanjung Karawang, where the plane is believed to have gone down.

Lion Air's chief executive said the flight had suffered from an unspecified "technical problem" in a previous flight, but that it had been "resolved according to procedure", Reuters reports. "We are trying to dive down to find the wreck".

A search and rescue effort is being conducted at sea for a Lion Air passenger jet that lost contact shortly after it left Jakarta.

The Boeing 737 MAX was bound for Pangkal Pinang where it was expected to land at 7.20am.

Lion Air, which flies to 126 destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and China, is the second largest low-priced carrier in south-east Asia (after Malaysia's AirAsia), and it's growing fast.

As per Indonesia's finance ministry spokesman Nufransa Wira Sakti there were 20 officials on board the crashed Lion passenger jet.

As per his Linkedin profile, Suneja got his pilot license from Bel Air International in 2009 and worked as a trainee with Emirates before joining Lion Air in March 2011 where he flied the Boeing 737. The site where the plane crashed is within the Java sea.

The plane, carrying 108 passengers crashed into the sea and subsequently split in two.

Data for Lion Air's Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following take-off.

In a statement, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson told it was "aware of reports of the missing Lion Air aircraft in Indonesia". Its only fatal accident to date was when a MD-82 crashed upon landing at Solo City in 2004, killing 25 of the 163 people on board, according to the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network.

Three years prior, in August 2015, 54 people were killed after a Trigana aircraft crashed in poor weather conditions near Oksibil, Indonesia.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 were flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade.

The country's carriers have in the past faced years-long bans from entering European Union and USA airspace over their safety records.

According to Flightradar the aircraft is a near new Boeing 737 MAX, a new generation plane.

Other reports by iNewsToday