The pilot of a Lion Air flight that plummeted into the sea on Monday morning was Indian national Bhavye Suneja who died in the crash, reported PTI. Lion Air in a statement said Suneja had 6,000 flight hours.
The Lion Air passenger flight travelling from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang crashed into the sea minutes after taking off on Monday. The airline said the plane was carrying 181 passengers including three children, and eight crew members.
The Indian Embassy in Jakarta confirmed that Suneja was killed in the crash.
According to The Times of India, Suneja, a resident of Delhi’s Mayur Vihar area, joined the Indonesian low cost carrier Lion Air in March 2011. The vice president of a leading airline in India that operates Boeing 737 said Suneja was considering returning to India.
“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,” the official said. “His only request was that he wanted a Delhi posting as he is from the city,” the official said, adding that he had spoken to Suneja in July.
Suneja’s LinkedIn profile mentions that he completed pilot training from Bel Air International before joining Lion Air. He specialised in flying Boeing 737 passenger jets, reported NDTV.
Search and rescue operations are under way at the crash site. Head of the search and rescue agency Muhmmad Syaugi said wreckage had been found near where the Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground. “We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” Syaugi told a press conference. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”