Lion Air Plane Crash Pilot Bhavye Suneja Confirmed To Be Among Dead

Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed early this morning 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta. It was heading to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka with 189 passengers on board, including three children, reports the BBC.

Among the six confirmed deaths was Captain Bhavye Suneja, from Delhi, India. He was 31-years-old and joined Lion Air in 2011. His death was confirmed by the Indian Embassy in Jakarta. The co-pilot, named Harvino, has not yet been found. Captain Suneja reportedly had 6,000 flight hours under his belt while Harvino had 5,000, making them both very experienced pilots.

The cabin crew included a technician and three flight attendants in training. Their names were reported as Shintia Melina, Citra Noivita Anggelia, Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Mery Yulianda, and Deny Maula.

Among the passengers aboard the plane were 20 employees of the finance ministry, who were on their way back to the ministry’s offices in Pangkal Pinang after spending a weekend in Jakarta. The BBC reported that one member of the finance ministry, Sony Setiawan, missed the flight after getting stuck in traffic. It wasn’t until he arrived in Pangkal Pinang after catching the next flight that he learned about the crash.

“I know my friends were on that flight…My family was in shock and my mother cried but I told them I was safe, so I just have to be grateful.”

Family members of the passengers are waiting at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma airport to hear news of their loved ones. Among the family members is Murtado Kurniawan, whose newlywed wife was aboard the flight. He spoke to the BBC through tears.

“I can’t live without her, I love her. The last thing I said to her, was ‘be careful.’ I always worry about her when she goes away. When I saw on TV that the plane had crashed, my whole body went weak.”

Another family member waiting at the airport is Dede, whose niece Fiona Ayu and her family were traveling back from a weekend getaway in Jakarta.

“The airline kept telling us to wait and wait for news, but the images on social media and television are very bad. But I am still holding out hope that she will come back, I am praying and praying for that.”

Officials are searching for passengers off the coast of Java, where they believed the plane to have crashed. So far, they have discovered life vests, a cellphone, and debris from the crash.