Lion Air crash investigation under way

Low-fare Indonesian carrier, Lion Air, has reported that one of its aircraft has crashed into the sea near Kerawang 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 6.20am on Monday 29 October.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft had been due to land at around 7.30 am in Pangkal Pinang, the largest city on the Indonesian island of Bangka.

According to a statement posted by Lion Air, the captain, Bhavye Suneja, had more than 6,000 flight hours, and his co-pilot, Harvino, had more than 5,000 flight hours.

According to Reuters, the pilot of Flight JT 610 had asked to turn back to Jakarta’s airport shortly after take-off and just before losing contact with air traffic control. Data from flight tracking service FlightRadar24 showed that after two minutes into its flight the aircraft descended more than 500 feet before climbing again to 5,000 feet, where it stayed until it suddenly began a sharp descent.

Lion Air acquired the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in August 2018. Boeing has issued a statement saying it was “deeply saddened” by the loss of flight JT 610. The aircraft manufacturer expressed its “concern for those on board and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.”

It also said it was ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation. And in accordance with international protocol, all questions about the incident should be directed to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC).

Having focused almost entirely on domestic operations since being added to the European Union’s blacklist of banned carriers in 2007, Lion air was removed from the list in June 2016 and has been busy building up its presence on the international market ever since.

Pictured is a MAX 10 aircraft.

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