New Delhi, News24 Bureau, Oct 29: Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja captained the ill-fated Indonesian plane which crashed into the sea on Monday with 188 passengers and crew on board while en-route to Pangkal pinang city, the airline said. The Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea off Indonesia’s island of Java, 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport.
The flight en-route to Pangkal pinang city lost contact with ground officials and crashed in the Java Sea on its way to Indonesia’s tin-mining hub. The flight carried 178 adults, 1 child and 2 infants, including 3 crew under training and 1 technician, the airline said in a statement.
The aircraft was commanded by Captain Suneja and co-pilot Harvino with six cabin crew members. The 31-year-old captain has 6,000 flight hours and the co-pilot more than 5,000 flight hours, the statement said.
Captain Suneja was a resident of Jakarta originally from New Delhi. He attended Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar. According to his Linkedin profile, he had been working at Lion Air since March 2011 and was also a trainee pilot with Emirates from September and December 2010.
Flight JT610 was a Boeing 737 MAX 8 that was delivered in August and had 800 hours of flying time. It sunk in waters about 30 to 35 metres, north of the coast of Java island. The aircraft was declared operationally feasible, the statement said.
The top priority for investigators will be finding the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder to help determine the cause, a media report said, quoting safety experts. The pilots had asked to turn back to base shortly before losing contact with air traffic control, the report said, quoting spokesman for Indonesia’s air navigation authorities.
Privately owned budget carrier Lion Air was founded in 1999 and 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.
'No survivors' after Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia with 189 on board:
"No survivors are expected" after a passenger plane crashed into the sea minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital.
Lion Air flight JT610 plunged into the sea after losing contact with ground officials 13 minutes after take-off.
An official told reporters: "I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far."
The pilot of the plane had requested to return to the airport shortly before it plunged into the sea.
Indonesia's president Joko Widodo has ordered the National Commission for Transport Safety to investigate the crash.
Nugroho Dudi Wiryanto, deputy chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency told reporters: "We are waiting for the miracle from God" when asked about the fate of those onboard.
He added that around 300 people including soldiers, police and fishermen are involved in the search that has so far only recovered personal belongings and aircraft debris.
Agency head Muhammad Syaugi told a news conference that no distress signals had been received from the jet.
He said: We don't know yet whether there are any survivors. We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.