Indonesia Lion Air jet cleared to return shortly after takeoff
KARAWANG, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian aviation and transport safety officials say a Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea with 189 people on board had been cleared by air traffic controllers to return to Jakarta's airport following a request from its pilot about two to three minutes after takeoff.
The plane, which was delivered to Lion Air in August, crashed about 13 minutes after taking off. Novie Riyanto, the head of AirNav, which manages air traffic in Indonesia, said the pilot made an "RTB" or return to base request "just two or three minutes after it took off and the ATC has approved."
At the same news conference, a Lion Air official said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.
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