Lion Air jet taxis into a lamp post
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