In the last two decades, Indonesia has had more than its fair share of air disasters. It is reported that at least 454 people have since been killed in these devastating incidents. This week, its air transportation safety alarm bell rang again, when yet another devastating air crash involving 189 passengers is reported.
Lion Air Crash Flight JT610
This latest incident involved a fairly new Boeing 737 MAX 8, one of Lion Air’s twelve existing airplanes of the same model. The pilot radio-ed for an RTB (Return to Base) after it took off from Jakarta. The request was approved, but the reasons were yet to be determined. Unfortunately, the air traffic control lost contact with the flight after thirteen minutes. The Black Box has yet to be found at the time of publication. 188 passengers onboard the flight is feared to be dead.
Flight: Lion Air JT610 (Boeing 737 MAX 8)
Route: Flying from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Aiport in Pangkal Pinang (capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region)
ETD: 6.20 am
Scheduled ETA: 7.10 am
Pilot: Captain Bhavye Suneja
Crews: Shintia Melina, Citra Noivita Anggelia, Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Mery Yulianda, and Deny Maula
Passengers: A total of 188 passengers on board, including 178 adult passengers, including a child, 2 infants, 6 cabin crews and 2 pilots.
Unconfirmed reports say that 23 government officials (from the Finance Ministry), 4 employees of a state tin mine company PT Timah, and 3 employees of its subsidiary company, are among the passengers in this ill-fated flight.
Indonesian air disasters over the years
1997: Garuda Indonesia A300 crashed in Medan, killing 214 people
2004: A Lion Air airplane skidded off a rain-slicked runway after landing in the Central Java City of Solo, killing 24 people
2014: An AirAsia plane crashed, killing 162 people
2015: Trigana Air crashed in Papua, killing 54 people
2016: Batik Air collided with a TransNusa plane. No one was injured
2016: Two Lion Air planes collided at the Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. No one was injured.
2017: Lion Air collided with a Wings Air plane as it landed on the Kualanamu Airport (Sumatra). No one was injured.
Indonesia’s air transportation industry has been experiencing growth in the last decade, mainly due to the increasing number of domestic passengers. It is critical that the authorities improve on its poor safety record.
How many more should become the victim of this lack of safety requirement?
Sources: The Sun, AFP, Reuters