Lion Air jet crashes into the sea off Bali, but all aboard survive

Lion Air Boeing breaks in two after missing runway at Denpasar airport; 45 taken to hospital

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 April, 2013, 5:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 8:30am

Passengers last night told of their chaos and terror as an Indonesian airliner missed the runway in Bali, landed in the sea and broke in two.

None of the more than 100 passengers on board the jet, operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air, was killed, but 45 were treated for injuries.

"The plane plunged into the sea at high speed," said passenger Ignatius Juan Sinduk, 45, who was in hospital with a chest injury. "Everybody screamed and water suddenly surged into the plane. Passengers panicked and scrambled for life jackets. Some passengers fell, some ran into others, it was chaos."

Dewi, a passenger who sustained head wounds, said: "The aircraft was in landing position when suddenly I saw it getting closer to the sea, and finally it hit the water. People on board panicked and began screaming."

The Boeing 737-800 hit the water after missing the runway at the popular resort island's Denpasar airport, despite fine weather.

The plane, which was delivered to Lion Air last month, came to rest partially submerged in the water not far from the end of the runway, with inflatable slides deployed from the front exits and a gaping crack in the fuselage towards the rear.

Passengers in life jackets could be seen in the water as police in rubber dinghies rowed out from the shore.

"There was no sign at all that it would fall, but then suddenly it dropped into the water," passenger Tantri Widiastuti, 60, told Metro TV. "I saw holes in the floor of the plane … we were evacuated quickly."

Officials said at least seven passengers were taken to Sanglah hospital with head wounds and broken bones.

"There were 45 passengers who needed hospital treatment after being injured, but I cannot say whether their injuries were slight or serious," an airport spokeswoman said.

A Lion Air spokesman said the aircraft was arriving from Bandung in West Java with 101 passengers - including five children and a baby - and seven crew members on board.

Three foreigners were on board the Lion Air flight - a Frenchman, a Singaporean woman and a Singaporean man, according to the airport's head of communications.

Transport ministry official Herry Bakti initially said the plane overshot the runway, but later said it hit the water directly.

Lion Air, launched 13 years ago, recently struck two of the world's largest aircraft orders, worth US$46 billion.

However, it is banned from American and European airspace over safety concerns. Between 2004 and 2006, the airline had six accidents.

There were no fatalities but all involved planes overshooting runways or missing them entirely.

Additional reporting by Reuters, Associated Press


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