Traffic saved Indonesian man from doomed Lion Air flight


An Indonesian man has described how Jakarta’s notorious traffic inadvertently saved his life on Monday after he arrived too late to catch the doomed Lion Air plane which plunged into the sea minutes after taking off.

Sony Setiawan, an official in Indonesia’s finance ministry, had meant to be on board the ill-fated flight JT610, a journey he and his colleagues caught on a weekly basis.

“I usually take (flight) JT610 — my friends and I always take this plane,” Setiawan told AFP.

“I don’t know why the traffic at the toll road was so bad. I usually arrive in Jakarta at 3am but this morning I arrived at the airport at 6:20 and I missed the flight.”

That traffic saved the ma’s life as officials warned it was highly unlikely that anyone would have survived such a crash.

But Setiawan said any gratitude he felt was tinged with the knowledge so many people, including six of his colleagues, were not so fortunate.

“The first time I heard I cried,” he said. “I know my friends were on that flight.”

Setiawan, who is from Bandung in West Java, said he managed to catch a second flight to Pangkal Pinang city and only learned of the crash after he had landed safely.

The call he made to his briefly stricken family was filled with emotion.

“My family was in shock and my mother cried, but I told them I was safe, so I just have to be grateful,” he said.

About 189 people were on the plane when it vanished from radar just 13 minutes after take off from the Indonesian capital, plunging into the Java Sea off Indonesia’s most populous island.

The finance ministry said around 20 of its employees were on the plane.

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said it was “likely” all passengers and crew were killed in the accident, as it found body parts of some victims.



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