An Indonesian plane carrying over 130 passengers missed the runway at Bali airport Saturday and landed in the sea, leaving dozens injured but no fatalities.
The Boeing 737-800 operated by budget airline Lion Air, a rapidly expanding carrier which recently sealed blockbuster orders for hundreds of new planes but is banned from US and European airspace over safety concerns broke into two as it landed in the sea.
Passengers screamed in terror as the plane missed the runway at the popular resort island’s Denpasar airport, a strange occurrence, as the weather was okay and visibility good.
The plane came to rest partially submerged in the water not far from the end of the runway, with inflatable slides deployed from the front exits and a gaping crack in the fuselage towards the rear.
“The plane was about to land when suddenly it fell into the sea. People on board panicked and began screaming,” said a passenger named Dewi, with light head injuries.
“There were 45 passengers who needed hospital treatment after being injured, but I cannot say whether their injuries were light or serious,” said an airport spokeswoman.
Transport ministry official Herry Bhakti initially said the plane overshot the runway, but later clarified his comments to say it landed straight in the water.
Officials said they were still trying to determine why the plane missed the runway.
A Lion Air spokesman said the aircraft was arriving from the city of Bandung in West Java province with 101 passengers and seven crew members on board. The passengers included 95 adults, five children, and one baby.
He said the aircraft was relatively new, having started operating in 2012, and that the national transportation safety committee “will investigate the cause of the incident”.
“The plane broke into two pieces,” he said, adding that “judging from visual observation, the plane cannot be used any more”.
Bali is a hugely popular holiday destination, welcoming millions of foreign tourists from around the world every year.
Three foreigners were on board the Lion Air flight — a Frenchman, a Singaporean woman and a Singaporean man, according to the airport’s head of communications.