By Sinan Uslu and Nurettin Coskun
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's president on Monday offered his condolences to the Indonesian people over today's passenger plane crash with 188 people on board.
“I wish the mercy of Allah upon those who lost their lives in this plane,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during the inauguration ceremony for Istanbul’s new airport.
Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim also offered condolences for those who lost their lives in the accident.
In a statement addressed to his Indonesian counterpart Bambang Soesatyo, Yildirim said: “I have learned with great sorrow that the plane flying to Pangkal Pinang crashed.”
He added: “On behalf of myself and Members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, I wish the mercy of Allah upon the victims and convey my condolences to the brotherly people of Indonesia.”
Early Monday, a Lion Air aircraft flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang lost contact with air traffic controllers and crashed into the sea off the country’s West Java province.
The aircraft was carrying 188 passengers — including 178 adults, one child, and two infants, with two pilots and five flight attendants.
Lion Air is one of Indonesia's biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement expressing grief over the accident.
"We wish the mercy of Allah upon the victims of this tragic accident and we convey our condolences to their relatives and the brotherly people of Indonesia," said the statement.