Indonesia investigates Bali plane crash

Investigation launched and wreckage to be removed from sea as several passengers continue to receive medical treatment.

    Indonesia has launched an investigation into a plane crash which saw a jet miss the runway and make an emergency landing into the sea in Bali.

    The investigation got under way on Sunday, a day after the accident, as several passengers continued to receive medical treatment at local hospitals.

    Meanwhile, Indonesia's transport ministry said it plans to remove the wreckage from the holiday destination's blue waters.

    "We plan to move the wreckage of the plane. The National Transportation Safety Committee, which is working on the investigation, agreed, because it is difficult for them to work if the aircraft is still in the water," said Erry Bhakti, transportation director for at Indonesia Transportation Ministry.

    All 101 passengers and seven crew members survived when the Lion Air Boeing 737-800 Next Generation crashed, forcing many of them to swim to safety.

    "There was no warning that something wrong with the plane. Before the accident, the crew told us they were preparing to land and asked us to put the safety belt" said Andis Prasetyo, a survirvor.

    "Suddenly I heard a loud noise and I found out we were next to the runway and on the water," he said. 

    Passenger Tantri Widiastuti, 60, said he the plane "dropped into the water" without warning.

    More than 40 people were treated for injuries including broken legs, head wounds and shock.

    Lion Air failure

    "It probably failed to reach the runway and fell into the sea," said Edward Sirait, a spokesman for Lion Air, the airline created in 1999.

    Since 2002, Lion Air has recorded six recorded emergencies, with one resulting in fatalities. 

    Sirait would not comment on the cause of the crash.

    "The plane plunged into the sea at high speed," said passenger Ignatius Juan Sinduk from his hospital bed in Denpasar where he was being treated for breathing difficulties.

    "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.

    "I managed to grab one [lifejacket] and slowly swam out of the plane and to the shore."

    Budget carrier Lion Air is Indonesia's largest airline and is rapidly expanding.

    The pilot had flown for Lion Air for six years and was fit to fly, Sirait added. The airline has been randomly drug testing its crews since several pilots were arrested

    Indonesia has been struggling to improve its civil air safety after a string of deadly accidents.

    In 2007, Lion Air was among a number of Indonesian airlines banned by the EU for lax safety standards. The ban was progressively lifted, starting in 2009.

    The runway at Bali international airport starts next to the sea.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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