Lion Air Plane Crash: 189 people on-flight, no hope of survivors

The Boeing 737 passenger plane, carrying 189 people on board, lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, proceeding to crash into the sea. A boat leaving the capital’s port witnessed the incident.

The flight was headed for Pangkal Pinang off the island of Sumatra when it lost contact and rescue officials have desperately been scouring for any signs of survivors, but with no luck.  Indian embassy officials in Jakarta confirmed the demise of the pilot and an official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said it was impossible to confirm the cause of crash until the plane’s black box was recovered.

According to a spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities, the aircraft crew had requested and received permission to turn around, then lost contact immediately leaving officials baffled.

This crash is another major setback for Indonesia’s aviation sector which has been troubled regarding safety for several years now. Back in June, the EU cleared all Indonesian airlines from bloc-wide operating ban that had been placed on them in 2007 based on “unaddressed safety concerns.”

The cause of the crash is uncertain, with weather issues being ruled out as it was a clear, sunny day.

“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”

Distraught family members of those on board have been gathering at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport as they wait for news.