(AP) – A Lion Air plane carrying more than 100 passengers and crew overshot a runway on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Saturday and crashed into the sea, injuring nearly two dozen people, officials said.
I Made Krisna Maharta, an official with Bali’s search and rescue agency, said all of the passengers and crew were safely rescued and that 22 people were taken to three different hospitals with various injuries. He said initial reports showed there were 101 passengers and seven crew members aboard the plane.
TV footage showed police and rescuers using rubber boats to evacuate passengers and crew members. A photo on local channel TV One showed the plane with a large crack in its body sitting on top of the water.
The Transportation Ministry’s director general of aviation, Harry Bakti Gumay, said the plane overshot the runway and fell into the sea from a height of about 50 meters (55 yards). The cause of the accident was unclear, and Gumay said an investigation was under way.
Hospital officials and paramedics said at least seven passengers were taken to Sanglah hospital with head wounds and broken bones. Many passengers arrived there with wet clothes and bruises.
“The aircraft was in landing position when suddenly I saw it getting closer to the sea, and finally it hit the water,” Dewi, a passenger who sustained head wounds in the crash, told The Associated Press. “All of the passengers were screaming in panic in fear they would drown. I left behind my belongings and went to an emergency door. I got out of the plane and swam before rescuers jumped in to help me.”
Bali Police Chief Arif Wahyunadi said the plane — a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation with 180 seats — originated from Bandung, the capital of West Java province, and was landing in Bali.
Lion Air is a rapidly expanding low-cost carrier that holds about a 45 percent market share in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that’s seeing a boom in both economic growth and air travel.
Air travel safety issues are a longtime problem in Indonesia, and just how fast the country’s airline market is growing came under a spotlight with last year’s deadly crash of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 plane during a demonstration flight. While both the plane and the pilot were Russian, the flight was packed with representatives of local airlines that the manufacturer hoped would purchase the jetliner.
Lion Air signed a $24 billion deal last month to buy 234 Airbus planes, the biggest order ever for the French aircraft maker. It also gave Boeing its largest-ever order when it finalized a deal for 230 planes last year. The planes will be delivered from 2014 through 2026.
By FIRDIA LISNAWATI
Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.