Indonesian Passenger Jet Carrying 108 People Crashes Into Water Off Bali

An Indonesian passenger plane carrying 108 passengers and crew has crashed into water near Denpasar International Airport.

Early reports said all those on board the Lion Air Boeing 737 were safe. 

Flight 904 reportedly fell short of the runway at Bali‘s Ngurah Rai airport when attempting to land.

Lion was one of several Indonesian airlines banned by the EU in 2007 over poor safety standards.

Pictures of the plane circulating on social media website Twitter show the fuselage cracked and the plane surrounded by rescue craft.

However, passengers arriving at the hospital appeared to have minor injuries.

The Reuters news agency reported that the plane had 172 passengers on board, and that all were safe.

However, the Fairfax media cited Denpasar airport officials as confirming that the plane carried only 108 passengers and crew.

Fairfax cited Eko Diantoro, the general manager from airport operator Angkasa Pura II, as saying Saturday that:

“Based on the information we received, all passengers are in good condition.”

Eko reportedly said there were 101 passengers — 96 adults, five children and one baby — and seven crew members on board the Boeing 737-800 ER jet, which left Husein Sastranegara International Airport, Bandung, at 12:56 p.m. Bandung, West Java, is a popular shopping town.

The flight was due to land at 3:40 p.m. local time, however it crashed into the ocean at 3:35 p.m, 50 meters from the runway, coming to rest inwater about six feet deep.

The plane’s pilot had reported engine troubles, according to some accounts.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation wrote that Lion Air was a leading budget air carrier in Indonesia.

It has 92 planes but last month signed a $24 billion contract with Airbus for
234 A320s, the most valuable commercial order in history.

The second-biggest order was also made by Lion Air in 2011 — $22.4 billion for 230 Boeing jets.

Indonesia had been struggling to improve its civil air safety after a string of deadly accidents, the ABC wrote.

The ban on Lion — which has been involved in five crashes in recent years, amid what Fairfax described as “numerous complaints about its pilots using methamphetamines and attending drug parties” — was progressively lifted, starting in 2009.

Meanwhile, Fairfax cited an Australian surfer who living in Bali as saying that  he had been surfing nearby when the plane had hit the water.

“It sounded like a thunderclap.”