Miracle on the Bali Sea: No one killed as plane misses runway
BALI, Indonesia — All 108 passengers and crew members survived when a new Lion Air jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean and snapped into two while attempting to land on Saturday on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, injuring up to 45 people.
“The plane plunged into the sea at high speed,” passenger Ignatius Juan Sinduk, 45, told AFP from his hospital bed in Denpasar, where he was being treated for 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.”
The injured were taken to several hospitals for treatment, but there appeared to be no serious injuries, said airport spokesman Alfasyah, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. There were three foreigners on board — two Singaporeans and a French national — all of whom suffered slight injuries.
Officials initially said the plane overshot the runway before hitting the water, but a spokesman for Lion Air, a low-cost carrier, said at a news conference that the plane crashed about 164 feet before the runway. The weather was cloudy with rain at the time of the incident.
“It apparently failed to reach the runway and fell into the sea,” said the spokesman, Edward Sirait.
The Boeing 737-800 Next Generation plane was received by the airline last month and was declared airworthy, he said The aircraft originated in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, and had landed in two other cities on Saturday prior to the crash.
“We are not in a capacity to announce the cause of the crash,” Sirait said, adding that the National Safety Transportation Committee was investigating.
The discount airline Lion Air, Indonesia's biggest commercial carrier, has been expanding rapidly in recent years.
Bali is one of Indonesia's top holiday destinations, popular with foreign tourists.