Indonesia plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into the sea

Indonesia plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into the sea

Indonesia plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into the sea

"It has been confirmed that it has crashed", said spokesman Yusuf Latif, of Indonesia's search and rescue agency.

The flight, JT610, lost contact with air traffic controllers minutes after takeoff and is thought to have sunk.

Swedish flight tracking service Flightradar24 reported that the airplane was a Boeing 737 that had been delivered to Lion Air in August.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when an AirAsia Indonesia's Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

The aircraft has a total capacity of 180 passengers, which means that the 737 MAX was completely booked out on the flight.

According to the airline spokesman, Suneja had clocked more than 6,000 flight hours while his co-pilot had more than 5,000 flight hours to his credit.

The Transport Ministry said the plane took off from Jakarta at about 6:20 a.m. and crashed just 13 minutes later.

Separately, Indonesia's Directorate-General of Air Transportation said the flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang requested to return to Jakarta shortly after takeoff from the capital's airport.

The National Search and Rescue Agency's deputy chief, Nugroho Budi Wiryanto, said some 300 people including soldiers, police and local fishermen are involved in the search and that so far it has recovered no bodies - only identity cards, personal belongings and aircraft debris. Speaking to media about the accident, the CEO of Lion airlines Edward Sirait said: "We can not offer any comment at this moment".

Australian government officials have been warned not to fly with Lion Air after the crash.

"We have located the debris about 2 nautical miles [3.7 kilometers] south of where contact with the plane was lost", he said.

In a statement, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson told it was "aware of reports of the missing Lion Air aircraft in Indonesia". The airline reportedly said there was a technical issue with the same aircraft on its previous flight, although it indicated this had been resolved.

In May 2016, two Lion Air planes collided at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport, while a month earlier a plane operated by Batik Air - part of the Lion Group - clipped a TransNusa plane.

Lion Air is Indonesia's largest low-priced carrier, dominating more than 40 per cent of the market.

Sony Setiawan, an official in Indonesia's finance ministry, was set to board Lion Air's JT 610 flight on Monday, October 29, but missed it as he did not reach the airport on time.

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