BANDUNG (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Mr Sony Setiawan, a public servant with the Finance Ministry, could not hold back his emotions upon hearing the news about the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT610 from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Belitung Islands.
Mr Sony, who is posted on Pangkal Pinang, was supposed to board the plane to be at work on time on Monday morning (Oct 29). He divided his time between Pangkal Pinang and Bandung, West Java, to spend time with his family.
Usually, he would arrive hours before the scheduled flight at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang.
But the traffic was "unusually jammed" on the Cikampek toll road early on Monday and he did not arrive at the airport until 6.30am local time.
The flight took off from Jakarta at 6.20am, and contact was lost at 6.33am.
Mr Sony later bought a ticket for a 9.40am flight with another airline and arrived in Pangkal Pinang at 10.45am.
"I cried when I heard the news because my friends were aboard the flight (JT610)," he was quoted by Antara as saying.
The Finance Ministry announced later on Monday that 20 of its employees were among the passengers on board the ill-fated plane.
The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has begun search efforts to locate the victims.
Debris of the plane has been reported to be located in Java Sea, seven nautical miles (12.96 km) north of Tanjung Bungin, Karawang, West Java.