Indonesian Flight That Crashed into Ocean Today Piloted by Indian

Bhavye Suneja, a New Delhi native, had reportedly joined the low-cost carrier Lion Air in March 2011 and was from the city’s Mayur Vihar locality.


The Lion Air passenger flight, flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang in Sumatra that crashed into the sea today morning, was piloted by an Indian origin pilot.

According to Bloomberg, the Lion Air JT610 was assigned to Bhavye Suneja and his Indonesian co-pilot Harvino. Suneja had experience of 6,000 flight hours and the co-pilot had 5,000 flight hours.

Bhavye Suneja, a New Delhi native, had reportedly joined the low-cost carrier Lion Air in March 2011, Times of India reported. According to media reports, Suneja was from the city’s Mayur Vihar locality and studied at the Ahlcon Public School from 1990-2005.

He was married to Garima Sethi. He studied to be a pilot at Bel-Air International, California between 2007-2009. Before joining Lion Air, he attended pilot training at Emirates. He also had been a pilot trainee for Boeing 737 NG for four months toward the end of 2010.

The newspaper quoted a senior official of an Indian airline as saying that Suneja was considering returning to India. “We spoke this July. He is a very sweet-sounding person. Being an experienced pilot of the B737 with an incident, accident-free record, we were keen to have him with us because of his good credentials. His only request was that he wanted a Delhi posting as he is from the city,” the newspaper quoted the official as saying.

NDTV said the Lion Air flight, took off around 6:20 am and was scheduled to land in the capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining hub at 7:20 am, flight-tracking service showed. The plane lost contact with the air-traffic controller at 6:33 am, 13 minutes after takeoff, airport authorities said.  There is immediate news of casualties or fatalities.

Quoting the Straits Times, news agency ANI said the plane, with 189 people on board, including 179 adults, three children, and seven crew members, had requested a return to the base. The aircraft was at 2,500-3,000 feet before disappearing from radar. It had reached a maximum height of about 5,450 feet after take-off and descended rapidly at about 6.31 am, according to data on

The site where the plane crashed is in the Java sea area which has shallow waters, Indian TV news station News Nation said on its portal adding Indonesian rescue agencies have found the plane debris at the crash site. The aircraft manufacturer Boeing said on its Twitter handle that “Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation.”

A statement from Lion Air said that the plane took off at 6:20 a.m. local time. It added that the aircraft was a Boeing 737 Max 8, manufactured in 2018, and in operation since Aug. 15, 2018, CNBC said.

News agency Reuters, quoting a spokesman for the country’s search and rescue agency, said that a tugboat at Jakarta’s port had seen the aircraft falling. The agency quoted Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency, saying via a text message that it “has been confirmed that it has crashed.”

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record with several fatal crashes in recent years, Indian news portal News18 said.

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