Lion Air Boeing 737-800 with 101 passengers crashes into the sea in Bali
More than 100 airline passengers escaped with their lives on Saturday when a plane crashed into the sea as it tried to land on the Far Eastern holiday island of Bali.
The jet missed the runway as it came in to land in good weather conditions, a transport ministry official, Herry Bhakti told AFP.
But officials said that all passengers on board the Lion Air jet had survived, although some had suffered broken bones.
Hospital officials and paramedics said at least seven passengers were taken to Sanglah hospital with head wounds and broken bones. Many passengers arrived with wet clothes and bruises.
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.
"The aircraft was in landing position when suddenly I saw it getting closer to the sea, and finally it hit the water," one passenger 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."
The plane was coming from Bandung, the capital of West Java province, and was landing at Bali's Denpasar International Airport, a popular hub for foreign travellers visiting the island.
Local television showed a picture of a Boeing passenger jet intact with a slightly ruptured fuselage and passengers in the water. Media reports said the plane was sitting in shallow waters 200-300 metres off the end of the runway. A photo on TV One showed the plane with a large crack in its body sitting on top of the water.
A Lion Air spokesman said the 737-800 was carrying 101 passengers and seven crew members. The passengers included 95 adults, five children, and one baby.
A spokeswoman from Bali's Kasih Ibu hospita said: “We have 30 patients, just Indonesians - no other countries. They are all still panicked. They cannot tell us what happened before the crash. It crashed very close to the land.
The situation is very crowded. It is not major injuries. Some have already gone home. Some are still under the doctor’s inspection."
Bali is one of 33 provinces in Indonesia, and a favourite destination for Western tourists - especially Australians.
It is the most popular region in the country for travellers, lured by its fine beaches,surfing opportunities, and cultural heritage. More than two million tourists visited Bali in 2011.
Lion Air is Indonesia's largest privately-run airline, flying within Indonesia and to Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and Saudi Arabia.
Lion Air is a 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. (eTurboNews)