An Indonesian passenger plane carrying 189 people on board on Monday crashed into the sea of Jakarta. Rescue team has said that all 189 people on board Lion Air Boeing 737 may have died in the crash.
Operation director Bambang Suryo Aji told reporters, “My prediction is that nobody survived because the victims that we found, their bodies were no longer intact. And it’s been hours, so it is likely 189 people have died.”
The news gained considerable attention in India because of the nationality of the Lion Air pilot, Bhavya Suneja. A resident of Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, 31-year-old Suneja had more than 6000 hours of flying experience as a captain and 5000 hours as a co-pilot. Suneja had joined Lion Air in March 2011. His co-pilot has been identified as Harvino, while the identities of the six other cabin crew members are not known.
Suneja wanted to return to India, Times of India quoted one of his close friends as saying. ‘I had spoken to him in July this year. He was a very polite and soft spoken person. He wanted to return to Delhi since this was his home city.”
Suneja had got married only two years ago.
According to local media reports in Indonesia, the flight JT 610 had taken off from Jakarta at 06:20 (local time) on Monday and was expected to arrive at its destination at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang an hour later. But the authorities lost contact barely 13 minutes after the flight had taken off.
A report by BBC quoted Lion Air Chief Executive Edward Sirait as saying that the plane had an unspecified “technical issue” on a previous flight, but he said that this had been “resolved”.
The airline operates 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes but the others have not had a similar technical problem and there is no plan to ground the fleet, he added.
Meanwhile, Indonesian search and rescue officials have begun recovering body parts from the scene of the crash, in addition to ID cards, bags, mangled mobile phones and other belongings. A Sky News report said that they had also retrieved pieces of the aircraft, although the main body of the plane has not yet been found and they are not expecting any of those on board to have survived.