Jakarta: The Lion Air flight that crashed into into the Java sea off the coast of Indonesia on Monday was commanded by India’s Bhavye Suneja. A total of 189 passengers and crew were aboard the plane.
The flight took off from the country’s capital Jakarta at 6.20 am and went missing minutes later.
According to Suneja’s LinkedIn profile, he belongs to New Delhi and has been associated with the airline since March 2011. LionAir in a statement said he had more than 6,000 flying hours.
Around 300 people are involved in the search and rescue operation. Wreckage and debris from the aircraft, including airplane seats, IDs, personal belongings have been found near an offshore refining facility of state energy firm Pertamina.
“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency. He added that there was no distress signal from the aircraft.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX, is a fuel-efficient version of the popular jet made in 2017.
IN PICTURES: Debris and personal belongings of those on board #LionAir flight #JT610, which crashed on Monday morning after taking off from Jakarta (📷: BNPB Indonesia) https://t.co/4jVWZli7ag pic.twitter.com/uBVmVIP0wB
— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) October 29, 2018
Indonesia, a growing market for budget airlines, has a patchy safety record according to experts. An Air Asia flight to Singapore had crashed on December 28, 2014, killing all 162 passengers on board. Lion Air, in the past, has had one fatal accident in 2004 where 25 of 163 people on board were killed while landing in Solo City.
Lion Air was removed from the European Union’s air safety blacklist in June 2016.