Thursday, November 01, 2018

Chilling phone video shows passengers boarding fatal Lion Air flight

Jakarta: Like untold numbers of spontaneously shot smartphone videos, Paul Ferdinand Ayorbaba’s most recent was not a work of art, full of the backs of heads and the constant bobbing and disorientating pans and zooms that are a signature of mass digital culture.

But its mundane details have been transformed by tragedy into something deeply chilling — the last images of some of the 189 people who perished in terrifying circumstances little more than an hour after the video was shot.

Just minutes after takeoff, their Lion Air flight plunged into the Java Sea, tearing apart the plane and the people in it.

Ayorbaba travelled frequently within Indonesia on business and the boarding video was perhaps meant to comfort his wife, Inchy Ayorbaba, who felt a little anxious about the trip to an outlying island he’d never visited.

“It was his last contact with me, his last message to me,” she said in an interview with Indonesian TV at a police hospital where she’d taken their three children for DNA tests to help with victim identification.

The images in the short video are familiar not just to the millions who have passed through the Indonesian capital’s well-worn domestic terminal but to anyone who has taken a flight.

At the beginning, there’s a semi-orderly queue of people showing their boarding passes to a waiting attendant.

Suddenly it dives into an extreme close-up of the pass in Ayorbaba’s hand, showing his name and the flight number, JT-610.

Next, a jerky view of a bright wide concourse and the backs of people walking ahead, pulling their wheeled carry-on bags.

Then a sudden swerve into a narrower passage from where the tarmac and waiting planes are visible between slats.

Ayorbaba zooms to a waiting plane that’s operated by a Lion Air subsidiary, pans to a red and white Lion Air jet that is possibly his flight, and then back to the boarding stairs attached to the first plane.

About 35 minutes before takeoff, Ayorbaba uploaded the video to his wife using the instant messaging app WhatsApp, a timestamp shows, she said.
31/10/18 AP/Calgary Herald

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