In an extremely lucky turn of events, a passenger supposed to fly on the doomed Lion Air flight was stuck in traffic when the plane took off.
The Boeing 737, owned by Indonesian airline Lion Air, went down earlier today (October 29) after taking off from the capital city of Jakarta.
Flight JT 610 was headed towards Pangkal Pinang city, before it disappeared off the radar just 13 minutes after taking off.
An official in Indonesia’s finance ministry, Sony Setiawan, was due to be among the 189 people on board the ill-fated flight. However, he missed check-in because of bad traffic.
He told AFP that some of his friends from the finance ministry were on board the flight.
The first time I heard I cried. 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.
Setiawan arrived at the airport late because of traffic and got put on another flight, so he only found out about his lucky escape after he arrived in Pangkal Pinang at 9.40am.
Speaking to Malaysia One News at the airport, he described how he couldn’t get in touch with his friends once he had landed, which he thought was unusual.
Sony Setiawan tells media how he missed Indonesia's Lion Air flight due to traffic.
He arrived at the airport ten minutes after the plane took off, which later crashed into the sea.
Six of his colleagues from the Finance Ministry were onboard. – AFP pic.twitter.com/fjLdCDxbSk
— malaysiaonenews (@Malaysia1news) October 29, 2018
He went on to tell AFP:
I don’t know why the traffic at the toll road was so bad. I usually arrive in Jakarta at 3am but this morning I arrived at the airport at 6:20 and I missed the flight.
The Boeing-737 MAX went into service just months ago and disappeared just moments after asking whether it could return to the Indonesian capital,
All 189 passengers on board are ‘likely’ to have died, officials said after it was announced that human remains had been found.
We're following reports that contact has been lost with Lion Air flight #JT610 shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) October 29, 2018
Search and rescue agency operational director Bambang Suryo Aji told reporters at AFP:
My prediction is that nobody survived because the victims that we found, their bodies were no longer intact and it’s been hours so it is likely 189 people have died.
The plane landed in water which is approximately 30 to 40 metres deep, and as such 40 divers attended the scene along with another 110 personnel, authorities said.
The plane was shown to be speeding up on websites that display flight data, as it suddenly lost altitude in the minutes before it disappeared off the radar at 6.30am this morning.
Footage of the wreck shows debris on the surface of the water in which the plane crashed, along with fuel from the plane.
Video: Rescue workers at the site of Indonesia Lion Air plane crash pic.twitter.com/SSZHCInz3p
— Khalid khi (@khalid_pk) October 29, 2018
Our thoughts are with the families of those lost in the tragedy.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.