Fact check: Video showing "last moments aboard Lion Air" was not taken from the crashed flight

In this May 12, 2012 file photo, a Lion Air passenger jet is parked on the tarmac at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indonesia's Lion Air said on October 29, 2018, it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra.   | Photo Credit: AP

A video that has been circulating as the "last minutes of the crashed Lion Air plane" is not from that aircraft. The video dates back to December 2017.

Lion Air flight JT610 with 189 people on board lost contact just 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on October 29, 2018, and crashed in the sea. There were no survivors and search operations are under way in the waters off Karawang, West Java, to locate the black boxes, wreckage, and bodies. One of the black boxes was retrieved on Thursday.

A video of passengers screaming inside a turbulent flight is going around on social media claiming to be from the aircraft. In fact, the video was shared on the same day of the crash in Indonesia, prompting the head of the National Agency for Disaster Management to tweet against spreading of such hoaxes.


Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the head of Indonesia's disaster management agency, also debunked pictures being circulated as having been taken on the ill-fated airplane.


But the video has spread far, reaching India, Pakistan, Greece, and Russia. News agency AFP tracked down dozens of Facebook pages that have posted the video including @SpotLightHumanity where it has been viewed more than 1.3 million times. Russia Today posted the video on its Arabic Twitter account where it has been viewed more than 90,000 times.

AFP tracked the video's origin to the private Instagram account @marapi_singgalang, which promotes a hiking tour agency.

The Instagram post was accompanied by a lengthy caption which, in part, says: "Deep condolences for the incident experienced by @lionairgroup plane #lionair #lionjt610. This is a video taken by myself on a flight that made me so traumatised I no longer want to travel by plane."

AFP spoke with David Ditama, who owns the @marapi_singgalang Instagram account, on Wednesday.

Mr. Ditama said he was aboard Lion Air JT 353 heading to Jakarta from Padang on December 11, 2017. He took the clip from a video he posted to Twitter on December 13, 2017 and re-posted it on Instagram to express his emotions following the crash of JT 610.

"I don't know who might have circulated the video without my permission and then misused it," he told AFP.

The original tweet is below.


This also brings us to the obvious question — can a passenger tweet while flying? Well, that depends on the country and the aircraft you fly.

In India, the Telecom Commission recently approved in-flight connectivity paving way for Indian carriers to provide onboard Wi-Fi services. Indonesia has been allowing in-flight connectivity since 2013 and its national carrier Garuda Indonesia has been providing paid wifi connectivity on board, according to a news report published by The Jakarta Post. While Lion Air's full-service arm Batik Air offers Wifi service on board, the website of its low-budget carrier in question doesn't mention of offering such service.

(With inputs from AFP)

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 3:06:19 AM |

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