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Poor Track-Record Lion Air Plane Crashed into Water at 560km/h, 189 Passengers Believed Dead

A two-month-old, most technological advanced and fuel-efficient Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air was met with a tragic accident yesterday which its 189 passengers were believed to be dead.

The ill-fated airplane took off at 6.20am from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta, Indonesia. Three minutes into the air, the flight JT 610 requested air traffic control for permission to turn around, indicating the crew may have been struggling with some type of failure.

Source: The Guardian

Sadly, by 6.33am, the new airplane plummeted into the sea at 560km/h − 1479m altitude dropped to zero in just 21 seconds, News AU reported.

Aviation safety expert John Cox said the normal descent for an airplane is about 450m to 600m per minute but flight JT 610 fell at 9400m per minute, data from FlightRadar24 shown.

“This thing really comes unglued,” said Cox, who’s also the president of consulting company Safety Operating Systems, “the numbers are barely believable.”

The Synder Morning Herald wrote that a mid-range flight generally flies around 560km/h but such a speed is unheard of when descending.

Its last recorded position was about 15km north of the capital city, according to Flightradar24. At 2pm, 300 people including soldiers, police and local fishermen sailed towards the location to search for the plane.

Source: News AU

ID cards, personal belongings and aircraft debris were recovered; some human remains were later found. It’s likely to be no survivors as the deceased bodies were not intact as ones. The head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Bambang Suryo Aji said he wouldn’t expect any survivors.

Source: The Guardian

Pilot who flew Lion Air JT610, Bhavye Suneja. Source: News AU

The flight was supposed to arrive north at Pangkal Pinang in an hour. CNN reported that the pilot and co-pilot of the aircraft had a combined of 11,000 flying hours while the plane had flown for 800 hours.

On Sunday before the clash, flight JT 610 showed signs of erratic movements immediately after takeoff. Lion Air confirmed the “technical problem” and assured that it had been resolved. Yesterday’s incident also saw the flight jerking from 640m to 450m moments after take off. It managed to climb again and flew unsteadily at altitudes between 1370m to 1630m before the fatal high-speed dive.

Despite being manned by experienced flight crew, clear weather and a new aircraft, death was on the line. The 18 years in operation low-cost airline previously had seven incidents in its short history. 25 lives were taken and a few more were injured in their flights. Below is a timeline of recorded incidents of the Indonesia-based airline, as reported by News AU:

According to The Guardian, the United States and the European Union had banned Indonesian aircraft to enter their skies in 2007, which was lifted by the Federal Aviation Administration nine ears later in August 2016. Lion Air and a few other Indonesian airlines were permitted to fly to Europe and in June this year, its regulators lifted the ban on the rest of Indonesian carriers. As of now, European Commission said it had no immediate plans to ban Indonesian airline Lion Air again.

The Economist wrote that there were 16 fatal air crashes in Indonesia this decade, including yesterday’s incident, and the number rose to 56 when non-fatal incidents were included.

Australian government officials were told to not to fly with Lion Air since the clash yesterday. Malaysia-based Malindo Air is a sister company of Lion Air and it’s believed that it had plans to expand in Australia.

The investigation is still on-going to find out the cause of the clash which is still unknown. It’s said that speculating on the causes at this early stage is unhelpful to the investigation and it disrespects the victims. One man, however, was able to escape death all thank to Jakarta’s notorious traffic.

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