Mumbai/Jakarta: An Indonesia Lion Air plane with 189 passengers and crew that plunged into the Java Sea on Monday is the deadliest aviation disaster since 1997. Authorities on Monday said that all passengers are ‘likely’ dead.
In 1997, 234 people died when an Airbus A-300B4 operated by national Garuda crashed into mountainous woodlands.
Lion Air is a low-cost airline which has engaged in a huge expansion in recent years.
About the plane crash
On September 29, Lion Air flight JT-610 took off from Jakarta en route to Pangkal Pinang city at 06:20 am. The Boeing-737 MAX vanished from radar 13 minutes after taking off and plunged into the Java Sea. The plane had asked to return to the Indonesian capital.
Flightradar24’s website tracked the plane and showed it looping south on take-off and then heading north before its flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.
Witnesses said they did not hear an explosion but saw the Boeing 737 MAX plunge into the sea.
Man in-charge of Boeing-737
As per Lion Air, Captain and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours of combined flying time and both had recent medical and drug tests.
The man-in-charge was Bhavye Suneja, 31, an Indian who was a resident of Mayur Vihar, New Delhi. He had joined the airlines in March 2011 after training with Emirates from September to December 2010.
There were seven crew members on the flight, including the captain.
Apart from Suneja, crew members Shintia Melina, Citra Noivita Anggelia, Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Mery Yulianda, and Deny Maula were onboard.
Questions for investigators
The airline had acknowledged that the jet had previously been grounded for unspecified repairs. The plane that took off from Jakarta had a technical glitch in the previous flight but was resolved according to the procedure, Lion Air CEO said.
Later on Monday itself after the crash, the search and rescue teams found some body parts, personal items of the passengers and debris of the aircraft. The only issue authorities will face is that rescuers haven’t found any body intact.
On Tuesday, officials said that 10 bags have been filled with limbs and other body parts of the deceased and with the help of DNA testing; officials might be able to identify the passengers.
The other aspect to find how and why the accident did happen, the cockpit voice and flight data recorder could be key pieces of evidence.
The investigators will have to consider various factors including the jet’s mechanical conditions, weather aspect, and any unusual activity in the cockpit and crew proficiency.
Lion Air has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. The airline was removed from the European Union’s air safety blacklist in June 2016.
Indonesia is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market but its safety record is unreliable.