Indonesia Lion Air flight crashes in sea with 188 passengers, crew onboard

A Lion Air flight with 188 people on board crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday.

Indonesia's disaster agency posted photos online of a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels that have converged on the area.

Spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the aircraft, on a 1 hour and 10 minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members.

Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, cry at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang. (Reuters)

Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, cry at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang. (Reuters)

"The aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, one child and two babies, with two pilots and five flight attendants," said Sindu Rahayu, directorate general of Civil Aviation at the transport ministry.

"The plane had requested to return to base before finally disappearing from the radar," he added in a statement.

Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.

The National Search and Rescue Agency said the flight ended in waters off West Java that are 30 to 35 meters (98 to 115 feet) deep.

Aviation tracking website Flightradar24 says the Lion Air plane that crashed after takeoff from Jakarta was a brand-new aircraft that has only been in use for a couple of months. The site says the 737 Max 8 plane was registered as PK-LQP and was delivered to the airline in August. Vessels searching in the water for the Flight 610 wreckage have found various items of debris. The Max 8 is part of Boeing Co.'s latest narrow-body 737 series. It replaced the similar 737-800 in the Chicago-based planemaker's product line. Boeing spokesman Paul Lewis says Boeing is "closely monitoring the situation" but did not provide details on the aircraft in question.

The agency's chief Muhammad Syaugi told a news conference that divers are trying to locate the wreckage.

The Boeing 737-800 plane departed Jakarta, about 6.20 a.m. for Pangkal Pinang. Data for Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following takeoff.

Indonesian TV showed dozens of people waiting anxiously outside the Pangkal Pinang airport and officials bringing out plastic chairs.

The crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since an AirAsia flight plunged into the sea in December 2014, killing all 162 on board.

A report to the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cited the crew of a tug boat which had reported seeing a Lion Air flight falling from the sky.

A telegram from the National Search and Rescue Agency to the air force has requested assistance with the search.
Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: 06:51 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
Top