Lion Air founder Rusdi Kirana apologizes to families of JT610 crash victims

Lion Air founder Rusdi Kirana apologizes to families of JT610 crash victims
PHOTO: Reuters

Lion Air Group founder Rusdi Kirana has apologised to the families of passengers and crew aboard Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed into the Java Sea, saying that he was "deeply shocked" by the tragedy.

Rusdi, who is the current Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia, visited the families of victims at Ibis Cawang Hotel in East Jakarta on Tuesday, a day after the plane went down en route from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang in Bangka Belitung Islands on Monday morning.

"I apologise, whatever the reasons may be. I am currently trying my best," Rusdi said as quoted by kompas.com. "I extend my condolences. I am saddened and honestly, I am deeply shocked [by the incident]."

Lion Air management, Rusdi said on Tuesday, was ready to be audited following the crash. "If the findings in the [audit] point to our wrongdoing, we will not object to any penalty," he said.

Rusdi resigned from his position as Lion Air CEO in 2014. He was appointed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as a member of the Presidential Advisory Board in 2015, later resigning his membership when he was inaugurated as ambassador last year.

Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashes into sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta

Rusdi, who cofounded the low-cost carrier Lion Mentari Airlines in 1999, helped oversee the expansion of Lion Air in the past decade to become the country's largest privately run airline.

In 2013 Lion Air ordered 234 aircraft from French manufacturer Airbus, earning Rusdi an award from the French government for the biggest purchase ever received by the company at that time.

The plane crash on Monday was the latest and worst incident involving Lion Air, which has been involved in a number of incidents over the past decade.

The management, Rusdi said, would provide the families of people aboard the downed JT610 with Rp 5 million (US$328) each to support their stay in Jakarta during the recovery of victims' bodies and subsequent identification process.

Another Rp 25 million would be provided by the management to support the funeral costs of those killed in the incident, he said.

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