A couple of surfers have been hailed as heroes, being the first on the scene to rescue passengers when the Lion Air airliner overshot the runway at Bali’s Denpesar Airport last week. Ben Panangian, (whose other claims to fame include being a red hot SUP and the boyfriend of Schapelle Corby, the Ausssie currently imprisoned in Bali for drug smuggling) and three of his mates were surfing the aptly named airport rights, when they saw the plane enter the drink.
Panangian told reporters, “There was thick cloud around and the wind was quite strong. Then I looked up and the plane had not landed. The next thing there is a big splash and then this wave. Usually there are no waves out here but the crash caused a big wave. Most people were in shock, they were panicking."
Along with two men rubber dingy and several local fishermen, the surfers they helped the passengers to safety, playing their part in a minor miracle where all 108 passengers and crew survived. “If it crashed the day before the tide would have been higher and the sea rougher," said Panangian, “which would have hampered rescue efforts and possibly led to more severe injuries."