Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja lost his life on Monday (29) after the Indonesian plane he captained with 188 passengers and staff members on board met an accident and finally crashed into the Java Sea.
The 31-year-old Indian pilot was flying the Lion Air flight JT610 which lost its contact with the ground staff nearly 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta Soekarno International Airport, Indian Embassy in Indonesia said confirming the death of the Indian pilot.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane en-route to Pangkal Pinang city fell near Kerawang, 32 miles east of Jakarta.
“Our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of lives in the Lion Air Plane crash, off the coast of Jakarta today. Most unfortunate that Indian Pilot Bhavye Suneja who was flying JT610 also lost his life…The embassy is in touch with the Crisis Center and coordinating for all assistance,” Indian Embassy in Indonesia tweeted.
The plane was carrying 178 adults, one child and two infants when the accident took place. The plane also had three crew under training and a technician.
The passenger plane was led by Captain Suneja and co-pilot Harvino and other six cabin crew members. Suneja was an experienced pilot with 6,000 flight hours of experience and his co-pilot had more than 5,000 flying hours experience, according to airline said in a statement.
Captain Suneja was a resident of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and was from New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian rescue and search teams have retrieved six bodies from the sea and sent them to a hospital in Jakarta.
The rescue workers are yet to found the main wreckage.
Search and rescue teams have been working amid high waves, in an area spanning 150 nautical miles with underwater robots to raise the efficiency of the rescue operations.
“At the moment, 90 people from the affected families have been flown to Jakarta from various states with accommodations provided in Hotel Ibis Cawang, East Jakarta. The information center has been set-up at the same hotel as well to ease the hassle of travelling to the post in Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport. 76 more family members are anticipated to arrive tonight,” said Lion Air in an update on the accident.
The plane was started its service in August and had 800 hours of flying duration. It submerged in waters about 30 to 35 metres depth, north of the coast of Java island. The passenger plane was affirmed operationally executable, according to a statement from the airline.
The major priority for the aircraft accident investigators will be finding the cockpit voice and flight data recorder which would help them to find out the cause of the accident, a media report noted, quoting safety experts.
Privately held budget airline Lion Air started its service in 1999. It had witnessed only a major accident till date when an MD-82 crashed upon landing at Solo City in 2004, killing 25 of the 163 people on board, as per the data from the Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network.