A plane of Lion Air, one of the Indonesian airline has crashed this morning in the Java Sea with 189 people on board for reasons still unexplained.
The situation of the 181 passengers (two minors and one baby among them) and the eight members of the crew is also unknown but the outlook is bleak. The accident is the latest misfortune that plagues this year the country of Southeast Asia after a chain of earthquakes and tsunamis.
The ship had taken off at 6.20 AM (local time) from Jakarta airport in the direction of Pangkai Pinang, a city on the island of Bangka which was to arrive an hour later. The air traffic controllers, however, lost their trail within 13 minutes of the takeoff.
The pilot had previously sent a request to return to the departure airport but did not issue an emergency signal. The Flightradar flight tracking portal reveals that the aircraft turned south and then northeast before rushing against the waters in an area with a depth of only about thirty meters.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, The spokesperson for the National Disaster Agency, has shown from his Twitter account the first photographs of the remains of the ship and belongings of passengers such as mobile phones, bags, clothing or identity documents. Television images taken from the air reveal a fuel stain on the water.
The family still waiting for the authorities to reveal more details of the tragedy. “We do not have any information, nobody has given us the information we need, we are confused, I hope our family is still alive,” Feni told the AP news agency. Her younger sister and her fiancé were traveling on the plane.
The official sources have confirmed the accident shortly after the disappearance of the ship and have refused to speculate on its causes until the black boxes are recovered.
The airline has revealed that the pilot and copilot added 11,000 hours of flight. The ship, a Boeing 737 Max 8, had been released just a couple of months ago.
The company has reported that some technical problem, without specifying more, had affected the ship on Sunday and that, after the rigorous inspections by pilots and technicians, it had been considered safe to fly.
Gerry Soejatman, an expert in aviation, has ensured in social networks that the remains suggest an impact on the water at high speed from an approximate height of 2,500 meters.
Jakarta has sent a rescue device that includes several ships, helicopters and 160 members to find passengers and black boxes to find out the causes of the tragedy. Today’s accident highlights the security problems of Indonesian aviation.
The EU and the US banned their airlines from flying on their territory and Brussels lifted their veto last June for their alleged improvements.
There have been multiple accidents, the Jakarta airport receives many more flights than the security advises and the injured company of today accumulates a dozen incidents. A couple of pilots of this company tested positive for drugs just before flying.
Indonesia relies on air transport to connect an archipelago of 17,000 islands. The accidents of your airlines are not uncommon. A Trigana Air plane crashed into the Bintang mountains due to bad weather and the 54 people on board died in 2015. A year later, the fall of a military plane over Papua caused 13 deaths.
The company Lion Air, the largest low-cost airline in the country, had only one fatal accident to date since it was founded in 1999.
It happened in 2004 and killed 25 people in the city of Solo. But he had already accumulated half a dozen incidents, some as disturbing as the accident of a ship when it landed at the international airport on the island of Bali and which miraculously ended with no fatalities.