Lion Air jet taxis into a lamp post

The Australian - - THE NATION - AMANDA HODGE, N IV EL L RA YD A

A Lion Air plane crashed into a lamp post at an air­port in south­west Su­ma­tra as it tax­ied to the run­way last night, just nine days af­ter one of the dis­count car­rier’s new Boe­ing 737 Max 8 air­craft plunged into the Java Sea, killing all 189 peo­ple on board.

In­done­sia’s Trans­porta­tion Min­istry said it would in­ves­ti­gate the in­ci­dent, which hap­pened about 6.30pm lo­cal time at Bengkulu’s Fat­mawati Soekarno air­port, even as a ma­jor search and res­cue op­er­a­tion con­tin­ued for vic­tims of the Oc­to­ber 29 Flight JT610 and for the cock­pit voice recorder.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be car­ried out by Air­craft In­spec­tion and Air­wor­thi­ness In­spec­tor, Air­port In­spec­tor and Avi­a­tion Nav­i­ga­tion In­spec­tor,” act­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of Air Trans­porta­tion M. Pram­into­hadi Sukarno said late on Wed­nes­day.

The Boe­ing 737-900’s left wing was dam­aged in the ac­ci­dent and it has been grounded. No in­juries were re­ported.

In the tor­tur­ous days since her daugh­ter and young fam­ily boarded the ill-fated Lion Air flight from Jakarta back to their rub­ber and oil plan­ta­tion home in Bangka Beli­tung, Idariana has watched as other griev­ing fam­i­lies have been called for­ward to col­lect the re­mains of their loved ones.

She has sat in a tent out­side Jakarta’s Na­tional Po­lice Hos­pi­tal as a team from the Dis­as­ter Vic­tims Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion unit have worked la­bo­ri­ously through 187 body bags filled with hu­man re­mains col­lected by search and res­cue work­ers from the crash site in the Java Sea.

So far only 51 of the 189 peo­ple on board the Oc­to­ber 29 flight that plunged into the sea 13 min­utes af­ter take­off at speeds in ex­cess of 600km/hour have been iden­ti­fied, so great was the im­pact of the crash.

“For days I couldn’t sleep. I sat and watched as fam­i­lies af­ter fam­i­lies were sum­moned by foren­sic ex­perts to col­lect their loved ones,” the young grand­mother told re­porters out­side the hos­pi­tal.

“I waited, but they never called with any news. It was a very painful wait. I kept ask­ing my­self: where are my grand­sons? Where is my daugh­ter.?

“I even whis­pered hop­ing that their spir­its would hear me. ‘Please re­veal your­self. Come out of the sea. Let’s all come home. Let’s go back to our plan­ta­tion.’ ”

Her whis­pered prayers were an­swered when Idariana took home the bod­ies of her two young grand­sons, Rad­hika Wi­jaya, 4, and Rafezha Wi­jaya, 21 months old.

The lit­tle boys ac­counted for two of the three chil­dren on board JT610.

The bod­ies of her 27-year-old daugh­ter, Resti Amelia, and sonin-law Daniel Suharja Wi­jaya, 30, were iden­ti­fied on Tues­day from DNA sam­ples pro­vided by the fam­i­lies and Idariana’s hus­band re­turned to Bangka Beli­tung with their bod­ies on Wed­nes­day, where they were buried in a ceme­tery near their home.

But Idariana, 48, had re­fused to leave with­out her grand­chil­dren, who were fi­nally iden­ti­fied on Wed­nes­day, a full nine days af­ter In­done­sia’s worst avi­a­tion ac­ci­dent in more than two decades.

The young fam­ily had lived near the an­ces­tral prop­erty and she had been es­pe­cially close to her grand­chil­dren, who she would play with reg­u­larly and take with her to the plan­ta­tion.

“I am sad but at the same time re­lieved that all four have been found,” she said.

“For me, it is a mir­a­cle. Of the close to 200 vic­tims, my daugh­ter, my son-in-law, my two grand­sons were found. There are so many fam­i­lies still wait­ing for news of their miss­ing loved ones.”

‘I am sad but at the same time re­lieved all four have been found’ IDARIANA

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