Monday, 29 October 2018

New Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in sea off Jakarta

Debris field in the sea, 
Officials advise that all 189 people on a Lion Air brand new 737 MAX 8 are believed to have perished when the plane crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.

The aircraft has only been in operation since August and was operating Flight JT 610 from Jakarta and heading for Pangkal Pinang, in the Bangka Belitung Islands, when contact was lost with the aircraft just 13 minutes after taking off. The crew had reportedly asked to return to Jakarta due to a technical issue and according to radar tracking, it had struggled to gain height.

Emergency escape chute retrieved from the sea
Flight JT610 had taken off as normal from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday morning, it was a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that had been in service with the airline since 15th August. Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group, told media representatives that the aircraft had a technical problem on a previous flight, but that been resolved "according to procedure" set out by manufacturer Boeing.  The CEO also said: "We are also confused about the why since it was a new plane. We don't dare to say what the facts are, or are not, yet.

The planes makers Boeing have issued a statement "The Indonesia Ministry of Transportation has confirmed it has located the wreckage of Lion Air Flight JT 610, a 737 MAX 8 en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang.

The Boeing Company is deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610. We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.

Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation. In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about aviation accident investigations must be directed to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC)."

As yet there are no details or indications of the cause of the crash and a rescue operation has begun to retrieve the bodies of the passengers from the sea around the crash site. Personal belongings, including ID cards, photos, driving licences, wallets and items of clothing have begun to be washed ashore.

It is being reported that there were at least 20 employees from Indonesia's finance ministry on the flight, a spokesperson for the ministry said they worked at the finance ministry offices in Pangkal Pinang but had gone to Jakarta for the weekend and would routinely take JT610 back to Pangkal Pinang. 

According to a statement from Lion Air, the pilot and co-pilot were experienced, with more than 11,000 flight hours between them. 'The aircraft is commanded by Captain. Bhavye Suneja and co-pilot Harvino with six cabin crew Shintia Melina, Citra Noivita Anggelia, Alviani Hidayatul  Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Mery Yulianda, and Deny Maula. The captain has 6,000 flight hours and the co-pilot has more than 5,000 flight hours.'     The airline advised the aircraft was as a 'Boeing 737 MAX 8 with registration number PK-LQP' made in 2018 and started its operation at Lion Air on 15th August 2018. Whilst the airlines' statement assured the public it would work with all the authorities and agencies in the investigations, the statement had no expressions of regret, sympathy or apology.