Posted by News Express | 13 April 2013 | 3,492 times
It was a narrow escape today for more than 100 airline passengers after their plane crashed into the sea as it tried to land on the Far Eastern holiday island of Bali.
The jet missed the runway altogether as it came in to land in good weather conditions at around 3.45pm local time (0745 GMT), a transport ministry official, Herry Bhakti, told the Associated Press (AFP).
Local television showed a picture of a Boeing passenger jet intact with a slightly ruptured fuselage and passengers in the water.
Officials however said that all passengers on board the Lion Air jet had survived, although some had suffered broken bones.
Police and rescuers used rubber boats to evacuate passengers and crew members from the wreckage, which was left floating just offshore. Hospital officials and paramedics said at least seven passengers were taken to Sanglah hospital with head wounds and broken bones. Many passengers arrived with wet clothes and bruises.
“The aircraft was in landing position when suddenly I saw it getting closer to the sea, and finally it hit the water,” one passenger told The Associated Press. “All of the passengers were screaming in panic in fear they would drown. I left behind my belongings and went to an emergency door. I got out of the plane and swam before rescuers jumped in to help me.”
“There was no sign at all it would fall but then suddenly it dropped into the water,” added passenger Tantri Widiastuti, 60, in an interview with Metro TV. “I saw holes in the floor of the plane ... we were evacuated quickly.”
Daily Telegraph of UK reports that the plane was coming from Bandung, the capital of West Java province, and was landing at Bali’s Denpasar International Airport, a popular hub for foreign travellers visiting the island.
Media reports said the plane was sitting in shallow waters 200-300 metres off the end of the runway. A photo on TV One showed the plane with a large crack in its body sitting on top of the water. The exact cause of the accident was unclear.
A Lion Air spokesman said the 737-800 was carrying 101 passengers and seven crew members. The passengers included 95 adults, five children, and one baby.
“We have 30 patients, just Indonesians - no other countries. They are all still panicked. They cannot tell us what happened before the crash. It crashed very close to the land. The situation is very crowded. It is not major injuries. Some have already gone home. Some are still under the doctor’s inspection,” spokeswoman from Bali’s Kasih Ibu Hospital said.
Bali is one of 33 provinces in Indonesia, and a favourite destination for Western tourists—especially Australians.
It is the most popular region in the country for travellers, lured by its fine beaches, surfing opportunities, and cultural heritage. More than two million tourists visited Bali in 2011.
Indonesia has been struggling to improve its civil air safety after a string of deadly accidents. In 2007, Lion Air was among a number of Indonesian airlines banned by the EU for lax safety standards. The ban was progressively lifted, starting in 2009.
Lion Air is Indonesia's largest privately-run airline, flying within Indonesia and to Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Saudi Arabia.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, Lion Air planes have been involved in six accidents since 2002, four of them involving Boeing 737s. Only one of them, according to the site, resulted in fatalities.
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