DENPASAR, Indonesia – A passenger jet operated by budget airline Lion Air – which recently sealed blockbuster orders for new planes – missed the runway at Bali airport Saturday and landed in the sea but everybody on board survived.
The Boeing jet carrying more than 100 passengers missed the runway as it came in to land in good weather conditions at Denpasar airport on the Indonesian resort island, transport ministry official Herry Bhakti told Agence France-Presse.
Bhakti initially said the plane overshot the runway, but later clarified his comments to say that it landed straight in the water.
Images of the incident site showed the plane partially submerged in the water with inflatable slides deployed from the front exits and a large crack in the fuselage towards the rear of the aircraft. Passengers in life jackets could be seen in the water.
“The plane was about to land when suddenly it fell into the sea. People on board panicked and began screaming,” a passenger named Dewi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP, her voice still shaking.
She received light head injuries and was taken to Denpasar hospital where an AFP correspondent saw another nine people receiving treatment.
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. Bhakti initially said it had been carrying more than 130 passengers.
He said the aircraft started operating in 2012 and was new.
The national transportation safety committee “will investigate the cause of the incident”, he said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were injured in the incident or what the nationalities of the passengers were.
Lion Air, a little-known carrier launched 13 years ago with just one plane, has in recent times struck two of the world’s largest aircraft orders in a staggering $46 billion bet on Indonesia’s air transport boom.
France announced last month that Indonesia’s fastest-growing airline had agreed to buy 234 medium-haul A320 jets worth $23.8 billion (18.4 billion euros) from European aerospace giant Airbus.
It came after Lion Air astounded the industry with a $22.4 billion deal for 230 Boeing 737 airliners, inked in 2011 as a visiting US President Barack Obama looked on.
Bali is a hugely popular holiday destination, welcoming millions of foreign tourists from around the world every year.