Monday, 29 October 2018

LION Air Jet With 189 Passengers And Crew On Board Crashes Into Ocean

A LION Air jet has crashed into the ocean after taking off from Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta.

The plane with a seating capacity of 210lost radio contact just 13 minutes into the flight which was headed to Pangkal Pinang, an island east of Sumatra.

The aircraft disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed.

Lion Air flight JT610 requested to return to base, with air traffic control losing contact with the pilots after approving the request, Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities said.

A tugboat crew in Karawang has now reported seeing debris of a plane in the water, and a vessel belonging to Indonesia energy firm Pertamina official has reported seeing more debris, including plane seats, near its offshore facility in the Java Sea.

Indonesia transport ministry official says it was carrying 189 people — including two infants and its crew.

Pictures and video released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency appear to show personal items including a bag, phone and documentation among suspected debris from the crashed plane.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had already found other debris from the aircraft including mobile phones and buoys.

He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.

Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control, Mr Syaugi said.

We are there now, our vessels and helicopter, to give assistance.

The water there is around 30 to 35 metres deep. We are now still trying to dive to find the aircraft. Hopefully the process would not take long.

Friends and relatives prayed and hugged each other as they waited at Pangkal Pinang’s airport.

At the National Search and Rescue Agency headquarters in Jakarta, family members turned up, hoping desperately for news.

We are here to find any information about my younger sister, her fiance, her in-law to be and a friend of them, Feni said.

We don’t have any information, she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes.

No one provided us with any information that we need. We’re confused. We hope that our family is still alive, she said.

Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyanialso arrived at the agency and met with its chief, seeking information about 20 finance ministry staff who were on the flight.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said the aircraft has crashed near Tanjung Karawang in the waters off West Java.

It has crashed in the waters in West Java. Our team has been deployed, Mr Latif said.

The Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic controllers at 6.33am. Flight JT-610 took off from the Jakarta airport at 6.20am local time and lost contact at 6.33am. The Boeing 737 was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am.

A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, said that he has received a report from a tugboat, AS Jaya II, that the crew had seen a downed plane in Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.

At 7.15am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane, Suyadi said.

Two other ships, a tanker and a cargo ship, near the location were approaching the site, he said, and a Basarnas rescue boat was also on the way.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had found debris. He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles (63km) from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.

Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles (4km) from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control, Mr Syaugi said.

The Flightradar website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on takeoff and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.

It says final telemetry from the aircraft indicates it was in a rapid descent.

The plane involved was a Boeing Co 737 Max-8 model. The aircraft is believed to be just two months old, and a significantly updated version over older 737 models.

Lion Air said the pilot and co-pilot of the plane had a combined total of 11,000 hours flying time.

Boeing said in a statement it was deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610.

We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones, the statement read.

Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation.

Weather is unlikely to have contributed to the accident. There were thunderstorms in the general area, there were none close to where the plane apparently vanished from radar.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent inquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman told News Corp.

Indonesian authorities say the 737 was carrying 178 adults, 1 child, two infants, six flight attendants and the captain and co-pilot. Indonesia’s finance ministry says 20 of its officials were among the passengers.

Just six months ago, a Lion Air plane skidded off the runway at Djalaluddin Airport in Gorontalo, Indonesia. None of the 174 passengers and seven crew members suffered injuries, with the incident destroying the plane’s landing gear.

In 2013 a Lion Air jet with a rookie pilot at the controls undershot the runway and crashed into the sea in Bali, splitting the plane in two. Several people were injuredin the crash, although no one was killed.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when AirAsia Indonesia’s Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years.

A 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed eight people in mountainous eastern Indonesia in August.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.

The European Union banned Lion Air from entering the airspace of any member state in 2006 after being deemed unsafe due to a poor safety record.

The EU lifted the ban in 2016, and in September this year, the International Civil Aviation Organisation gave the airline a top safety ranking.

Global airline rating agency AirlineRatings.com also moved the Indonesia-based carrier to its top safety tier.


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