Kudos to the pilots, as tragedy was diverted after a Lion Air flight took off from Jakarta on Wednesday evening.
Flight JT-330 bound for Palembang departed from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport at 5:13pm yesterday, with 169 people on board. The airline said today that shortly after take off, the pilots reported failure in one of the plane’s jet engines.
“At a height of 3,000 feet, the pilot felt that one of the plane’s engine components was not functioning as it should have been and that it was apparent that it needed to be checked,” Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said.
The plane, which was flying above Jakarta Bay, turned around for an emergency landing and returned to base safely. It landed back in Soekarno-Hatta at 5:52pm — 39 minutes after take off.
Videos that have circulated online show the plane landing in Soekarno-Hatta, with its left turbine on fire and firetrucks on standby.
The passengers disembarked the plane without any issues, Danang said. The spokesman apologized for the incident but said that the airline has not yet identified the cause of the engine failure.
He did, however, stress that the airplane — a Boeing 737-800NG — had passed its pre-flight checks.
The pilots’ identities have not been disclosed by Lion Air.
They did, however, receive a well-deserved round of applause by terrified passengers after safely touching down the plane in Jakarta, as shown in a video shared by a passenger.
“My heart was thumping. Alhamdulillah (praise God),” the passenger, named Gustria Kurnia Putri, can be heard saying with a shaky voice.
According to Gustria, she and other passengers heard an explosion coming from the left side of the plane moments after take off. One passenger then noticed that the plane’s left jet engine was on fire.
In the time that the plane was in flight, Gustria said that the cabin was hot and humid as the aircraft’s air conditioning had been switched off. Some terrified passengers were crying, fearing for the worst.
Despite passenger testimonies and footage suggesting otherwise, the Indonesian Flight Navigation Service Institution (AirNav Indonesia) said it found no evidence of fire or smoke emanating from the plane’s left turbine.
In October 2018, Lion Air flight JT-610 crashed shortly after take off from Jakarta, killing all 189 on board. Investigators found that design flaws in the aircraft — a Boeing 737 MAX — and inadequate pilot training were factors that caused the crash. Months later, a similar crash involving the same aircraft model in Ethiopia led to a global grounding of the 737 MAX.
The latest major commercial aviation disaster in Indonesia was Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 in January 2021. The aircraft — a Boeing 737-500 — crashed off the northern coast of Jakarta minutes after take off from Soekarno-Hatta, killing 62 people.