November 24, 2020

A tragic (but unsurprising) plane crash in Indonesia

Sources : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

A Lion Air passenger aircraft crashed into the sea soon after takeoff on Monday morning from Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, with 189 people on board. The search and rescue effort has recovered human remains, and based on their condition, an official said they’re not expecting to find any survivors — an Indian, Delhi-based Bhavye Suneja, 31, who had more than 6,000 flight hours, was the captain of the flight.

An air transport official said the plane — a Boeing 737 Max 8 — was cleared to return to Jakarta after the pilot made a “return to base” request two to three minutes after taking off. It plunged into the sea about 10 minutes later. Weather conditions were normal but the aircraft had experienced a technical issue on its previous flight.

The tragic accident is, however, not out of the blue considering the aviation safety record of Indonesia. Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June this year. The U.S. lifted a decade-long ban in 2016.

In 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore crashed into the sea, killing all 162 on board. In 1997, a Garuda Indonesia A300 flight crashed in Medan, killing 214 people. But as the Indonesian economy grew, its domestic passenger traffic tripled over the past 12 years to 97 million in 2017.

Lion Air, one of the youngest airlines in the country, itself has a poor record — in 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.

The Indian aviation regulator, DGCA, meanwhile, has sought the details of the crash from Boeing and the Indonesian authority as Indian carriers Jet Airways and SpiceJet have ordered the same model of planes, and some have even been inducted already.

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