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Jetliner Crashes Into Sea Near Runway In Bali; All Aboard Safe

More than 100 passengers survived a crash into the sea, after the Boeing 737 they were traveling on from West Java to Bali, Indonesia, missed the runway at Denpasar International Airport. The plane came to rest in shallow waters, simplifying rescue efforts. Photographs showed the Lion Air jet in the water, its fuselage broken just behind its wings.

The aircraft was carrying 101 passengers and seven crew members when it crashed; afterward, rescue workers used rubber boats to get people off the plane.

"The plane plunged into the sea at high speed," passenger Ignatius Juan Sinduk, 45, tells Agence France-Presse. "Everybody screamed and water suddenly surged into the plane. Passengers panicked and scrambled for life jackets. Some passengers fell, some ran into others, it was chaos.

"I managed to grab one [a lifejacket] and slowly swam out of the plane and to the shore."

Sinduk was taken to a hospital after injuring his chest in the crash. Reports also indicate passengers suffered broken bones and a possible brain hemorrhage.

At least two passengers say the crew did not warn them of the impending crash-landing.

"There was no signal, anything, it just happened suddenly," Santy Wiastuti tells the news site An article in The Bali Post cites a different passenger with a similar account.

At least 40 people were injured in the crash. Reports of how many were hospitalized have varied, ranging from four to more than 20.

A budget airline, Lion Air has expanded rapidly since its launch in 2000. In recent months, it has placed large orders for more planes, from both Airbus and Boeing. The airline now serves cities in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

As the Australian Broadcasting Network reports, Lion Air jetliners have been involved in at least six incidents of crashes or mishandled takeoffs and landings since the start of 2002.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.