By: J. Nemr
On the 29th of October, 2018, the Indonesian airline Lion crashed into the sea with 189 people on board off the coast of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. The western city of Pangkal Pinang was the Boeing 737’s final destination.
The flight, which left at 6:20 am was due to land approximately 1 hour later. However, only 13 minutes into the flight, the authorities lost contact of the plane shortly after the pilot’s request to return to base. This mysterious loss of connection was then followed by a sharp plunge into Indonesian waters. The plane went down in waters about 30-35 meters deep and there were no survivors in the crash. In addition to the 8 crew members on board, the victims included 3 children, 2 of them infants.
The aircraft was the modern Boeing 737 Max 8 jet; a new model which was launched only one year ago. It is an updated version of the 11 Boeing 737 jets owned by the company and according to the airline, they have no plans in resting the models on the ground even after the accident. In addition, this was the only major accident involving the Boeing’s new model.
Moments before the accident actually took place, the pilot had just requested a return to the base, and that was the moment where the signal was lost. Many may believe this was simply a coincidence, however, it is speculated that Lion Air was not as concerned for its passengers' safety as they should have been prior to the aircraft’s departure. This is because the aircraft had suffered a technical issue the evening before the flight. The engineers cleared the plane for flying on the very next morning and according to Lion Air’s Chief executive Edward Strait, "the issue was resolved according to procedure”. The victims’ relatives all search for answers, but as claimed by a Jakarta resident, Tugi, who wanted information on his friend Wendy, the airline can’t give out any answers, the reason for that still being unknown. Instead, forensic officers told family members of those on the flight that they could assist with the identification process on this investigation.
While the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo made a televised address on which he showed all of his condolences, this unfortunate event has impacted other countries such as Australia, which chose not to fly with the company until the cause of the event is discovered.