The National Transportation Safety Committee is examining the wreckage of the Boeing 737-800 that snapped in half before coming to a stop in shallow water near Bali’s airport on Saturday, said Transportation Ministry spokes- man Bambang Ervan.
He said aviation authorities had already removed the plane’s flight data recorder and were planning to tow the aircraft to a beach. Divers were searching for the cockpit voice recorder located in the tail. Experts are examining what could have caused the crash, including whether wind shear may have played a role.
All 101 passengers and seven crew members were safely evacuated from the budget carrier’s flight, which came from Bandung, the capital of West Java province. Some swam from the wreckage, while others were plucked from the water by rescuers in rubber boats. Dozens suffered injuries, but most have been released from local hospitals.
Officials said there were three foreigners on board — two Singaporeans and a French national — all of whom suffered slight injuries.
Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait said the plane crashed about 50 metres (164 feet) ahead of the runway. The weather was cloudy with rain at the time. He said the Boeing 737-800 Next Generation plane was received by the airline last month and was declared airworthy. The plane had landed in two other cities on Saturday prior to the crash.
Given that the aircraft was new, Sydney-based aviation expert Tom Ballantyne said a technical or mechanical problem would seem unlikely. He said it was fortunate the plane landed flat in shallow water.
In the past two years, three pilots, one co-pilot and a flight attendant from Lion Air have been arrested for illicit drug use.