A man who was supposed to be on the Lion Air jet that crashed on Monday morning, reportedly killing all 189 people on board, didn't catch the ill-fated flight because of traffic in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.
Sony Setiawan, an employee at Indonesia's Ministry of Finance, told Agence France-Press (AFP) that he and his colleagues take Flight JT 610 from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia, every week for work.
However, Setiawan said he ended up stuck in such severe traffic on Monday that he arrived at the airport as the Boeing-737 was taking off with 20 of his coworkers on board.
"I usually take JT 610 — my friends and I always take this plane," Setiawan told the outlet. "I don’t know why the traffic at the toll road was so bad. I usually arrive in Jakarta at 3 a.m. but this morning I arrived at the airport at 6:20 and I missed the flight."
Setiawan told AFP that he cried the first time he learned about the tragic accident, which wasn't until he landed in Pangkal Pinang on another flight.
"I know my friends were on that flight," he told the outlet. "My family was in shock and my mother cried, but I told them I was safe, so I just have to be grateful."
Photos from the scene:
Flight JT 610 crashed into the Java Sea about 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee reported that there were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots and six cabin crew on board.
No one is predicted to have survived the wreck "based on body parts found so far," according to search and rescue agency operational director Bambang Suryo Aji.
Following the deadly crash, accounts began to emerge of serious issues that occurred during the doomed jet's previous flight, including rapid descents that terrified passengers.
Passenger Alon Soetanto told TVOne that during his Lion Air flight from Bali, Indonesia, to Jakarta on Sunday, the plane suddenly dropped several times in the first few minutes of the flight.
"We felt like in a roller coaster," he told the station. "Some passengers began to panic and vomit."