#LionAirCrash: Pilot of ill-fated flight was from Delhi
Bhavye Suneja, a resident of New Delhi's Mayur Vihar, was the captain of the ill-fated Lion Air Flight JT-610 that crashed into the sea with 188 people on board. Suneja was piloting a Boeing 737 Max on a routine flight between the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Pangkal Pinang when misfortune struck. It is unclear whether there are any survivors. Here's more.
The aircraft was new, and pilots were experienced
The Boeing 737 Max, which had joined Lion Air on in August this year, was a brand new aircraft. It had flown for just 800 hours, but had encountered a technical problem on its last flight. However, that problem was reportedly resolved as per procedure. Meanwhile, the pilot, Suneja, and the co-pilot collectively had over 11,000 hours of flying experience.
The flight lost contact soon after takeoff; crashed shortly afterwards
The flight took off from Jakarta at 6:20 local time on Monday morning, and was due to reach its destination in one hour. However, the flight lost contact with ground officials 13 minutes after takeoff and a tug boat leaving Jakarta saw the flight crash into the sea. Currently, search and rescue teams are scouring the area for signs of survivors.
Updates on the search and rescue operations
"We don't know yet if there are any survivors. We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm. We are there already - our vessels, our helicopter is hovering above the waters to assist. We are trying to dive down to find the wreck," said Muhammad Syaugi, head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency.
What we know about the pilot, Bhavye Suneja
Suneja passed out of Mayur Vihar's Ahlcon Public School in 2005, and got his pilot license from Bel Air International in 2009. In 2010, he joined Emirates as a trainee pilot and remained with the airlines for four months before leaving to join low-cost Indonesian carrier Lion Air in 2011. Since then, Suneja has flown extensively, and had an incident-free, accident-free flying record.
Before the crash, Suneja was contemplating returning to India
According to TOI, Suneja was considering returning to India before disaster struck. The Vice-President of a leading Indian airline had reportedly spoken to Suneja about his return, and was keen on having the 31-year-old pilot join its ranks, owing to his impeccable flying record. Suneja had reportedly asked for a New Delhi posting and wanted assistance in getting an Indian ATPL (commander's license).
Everyone is praying for those who were on board
"We hope and pray that Suneja and others on the plane survive. We are all praying now," the senior airline official told TOI, commenting on the crash.