"Wind shear" may have caused Indonesian jet to crash into sea

Featured South East Asia - April 15th, 2013

An Indonesian airliner crashed into the sea off the resort island of Bali after missing the runway at Denpasar airport, leaving dozens injured. Miraculously, there were no fatalities among the 108 on board.

Investigators on Sunday began examining the wreckage of the new Boeing 737-800 to determine what caused the Lion Air budget airliner to skid off the runway, reports The Associated Press. The plane snapped in half when it hit shallow waters 165 feet ahead of the Denpasar airport runway. Some reports say the plane crashed straight into the sea.

All 101 passengers and seven crew members on the domestic flight from Bandung in West Java were safely evacuated, while 22 were brought to the hospital for injuries. Shocked passengers waded to shore in life jackets while others were rescued by police in rubber boats, according to the BBC.

Aviation authorities have already recovered the plane’s black box, which contains crucial data about the flight. Divers were also searching for the cockpit voice recorder located in the plane’s tail.

Officials said it was too early to say what caused the incident but witness comments and weather reports suggest the possibility of “wind shear” or a downdraft from storm clouds known as “microburst”, Reuters reports.

The pilot and co-pilot of the crashed jet underwent a drug test on Sunday but showed negative results, reports Wall Street Journal. Indonesian officials said a more rigorous analysis is under way.