Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja dies in Indonesia’s Lion Air Plane crash

Lion Air

Lion Air is Indonesia's largest low-priced carrier, dominating more than 40 per cent of the market.

The 22-year-old is shown wearing a green mask and looking into the camera ahead of the ill-fated flight to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of the capital. He said six body bags have been used so far for human remains recovered.

'We don't dare to say what the facts are, or are not, yet, ' he told reporters.

Thus, the crash of the plane was not monitored by the Medium Earth Orbital Local User Terminal at the Basarnas [Search and Rescue] head office. The plane had requested a return to base before finally disappearing from the radar. However, it came into difficulty shortly after take off and lost contact with ground control.

An underwater drone is also trying to find the wreckage, he said.

Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field while debris including what appear to be aircraft panels and belongings, including a mobile phone, was collected by search crews.

The incident is reported to be the first major accident involving a Boeing 737 Max - an updated version of the 737.

Lion Air has confirmed the flight was commanded by Captain.

"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors", the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Muhmmad Syaugi, told a news conference, according to Reuters.

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Privately owned Lion Air said the aircraft had been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having accumulated 11,000 hours of flying time.

"No Malaysians were found to be onboard the flight based on the [details] provided and the Malaysian embassy will continue to liaise with the authorities for the latest happenings", it said in a statement.

Malindo Air, a Malaysian subsidiary of Jakarta-based Lion Air, was the first airline to begin using the 737 Max 8 previous year.

Lion Air said there were two foreigners on the plane: one of the pilots, Indian national Bhavye Suneja, and an Italian citizen.

Three of those on board were trainee flight attendants and one was a technician. Sony Setiawan, an official with the Indonesian finance ministry, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that he missed the flight because of Jakarta's notorious traffic congestion, which inadvertently saved his life. He said Lion Air opened up crisis centres for family members of victims at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport and at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.

"The [Boeing] 737 is the most produced aircraft in aviation history; there is more of them flying than any other aircraft in the world, they are incredibly well made", Hansford said. It is a single aisle plane used for short-haul travel.

The plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a brand new type of aircraft.

On Facebook there are photos of him in his Lion Air uniform, smiling.

A crash in 2004, however, left 25 people dead.

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