A Bali plane crash came this morning when a rumored new plane operated by Lion Air overshot the runway on the Indonesian island and crashed into the sea, breaking the fuselage open. There were 108 people onboard — 101 passengers and seven crew members — but everyone was successfully evacuated alive. Twenty-two people are being treated in three area hospitals, with injuries ranging from head wounds and broken bones to bruises. The flight was a domestic trip from West Java to Bali which went down around 3:45 PM local time.
The rescue services had to use rubber boats to transport the victims from the cracked plane.
Harry Bakti Gumay, the Indonesia Transportation Ministry’s director general of aviation, said that when the plane missed the runway, it dropped into the ocean from a height of around 55 yards. However, he said that they were still investigating the cause of the mishap.
The new Bali plane crash sparked some debate on an online discussion forum for Indonesian ex-pats, with some posters remembering a 2012 scandal when two pilots were arrested for using crystal meth just hours before take-off.
Despite well-publicized death sentences in Bali for drug dealers and smugglers, crystal meth has become the number one illegal drug of abuse in Indonesia, according to a 2012 Reuters report. One observer noted that meth is often used to help people stay alert, which may hint that Lion Air pilots felt they were under pressure or overworked.
Lion Air recently signed a $24 billion deal to buy 234 new Airbuses. Despite the rumor that the plane involved in the crash might be a new one, an ABC report said the first delivery won’t take place until 2014.
A chilling photo of the drowned, broken craft was posted and tweeted around the world after the Bali plane crash.
— Cynthia Drescher (@JetSetCD) April 13, 2013
[Lion airplane photo by “Afrogindahood” via Wikipedia Commons]