Even as search and rescue operations are underway searching for the passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 which crashed today morning off the coast of Indonesia, it has been found that the captain of the ill-fated aeroplane was of Indian origin. The flight was en route from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang in Bangka Belitung.
The captain of the flight was Bhavye Suneja, reported Indonesian officials, and, according to local media reports, he was an Indian national associated with the airline for seven years.
According to Lion Air, Suneja and his co-pilot, Harvino, had 11,000 hours of flying between them. The 31-year-old Indian captain has 6,000 flight hours and the co-pilot more than 5,000 flight hours.
Captain Suneja was a resident of Jakarta. He attended Ahlcon Public School in Delhi's Mayur Vihar area.
The Linkedin profile of Suneja mentions that he completed pilot training from Bel Air International. He worked as a trainee pilot with Emirates for a few months before joining Lion Air. He specialised in flying Boeing 737 passenger jets.
The plane, which reportedly two pilots, six crew members and 181 passengers, including two children and one infant, reportedly crashed seven miles north off the coast of Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.
M. Syaugi, Head of National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) of Indonesia, while addressing a press conference, said, “We are certain that the plane crashed into the sea and is submerged at a depth of 30 to 35 meters. We have located the debris about 2 nautical miles (3.7 kilometres) south of where contact with the plane was lost.”
He also informed that 130 Basarnas personnel had been deployed from Jakarta and West Java's Bandung and Cirebon, as well as other areas. Thirty Basarnas Special Group (BSG) personnel had also been deployed to the debris site.
The rescue team had recovered various types of documents, including ID cards, passports and driver's licenses. Authorities had yet to locate the main body of the Boeing 737 MAX B aircraft, but they had found debris from the plane.
Flight tracking data from Flightradar24 reveals that the aircraft climbed to around 5,000ft before losing altitude, and then regaining height before finally falling towards the sea. It was last recorded at 3,650ft and its speed had risen to 345 knots.
The last recorded position of the flight was about 15km north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24.
Meanwhile, state-owned insurance company Jasa Raharja has assured that all passengers aboard Lion Air flight JT610 or their next of kin would be compensated in accordance with existing laws and the 2017 Finance Ministry regulation.
The Lion Air plane, crashed immediately after taking off earlier this morning, October 29. The plane was headed to Pangal Pinang and scheduled to reach at 7:20 am after taking off at 6:20 am from Jakarta.
“It has been confirmed that it has crashed,” Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, informed media via text message.
Flight JT610 lost contact with the ground 13 minutes after takeoff, according to the official. The jet was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, which can carry up to 200 passengers, according to air tracking service Flightradar 24.
Lion Air JT 610 was a Boeing 737 MAX. Made by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737. The newly designed plane took its first flight as recently as two years back was on January 29, 2016.