A PASSENGER plane with 189 people on board crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta this morning.
The pilot of the Lion Air plane requested to return to base shortly before losing contact. No survivors have been found.
Indonesia’s search and rescue agency confirmed the plane had crashed after its 6.20am takeoff.
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 search and rescue effort has been launched for the plane, which lies in waters off West Java that are up to 115 feet deep.
Indonesia's disaster agency posted photos online of a crushed smartphone, books, clothing, ID cards, life vests and bags that have been collected by search and rescue teams.
The aircraft, on a 1 hour and 10 minute flight, was said to be carrying 189 people, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members.
At least 23 government officials were on board the plane.
Indonesia's disaster agency spokesman posted video of some debris on Twitter.
Muhmmad Syaugi, head of Indonesia's search and rescue, said: "We are trying to dive down to find the wreck."
What we know so far:
-Lion Air flight JT610 crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta
-189 were on board, including 178 adult passengers, 1 child, two babies, two pilots and six flight attendants
-No survivors have been found
-The aircraft was travelling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang in Indonesia
-The pilot requested a return to the airport shortly before the crash
-Rescuers have posted pictures online of a crushed phone, books, clothing, ID cards and bags that have been found
-The plane was a new model – a Boeing 737 MAX 8 – and had only been in use for two months
-Lion Air's CEO said the plane had reported a technical problem on Sunday night
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.
Lion Air’s CEO, Edward Sirait, revealed the plane had reported a technical problem on Sunday night.
The jet was flying from Denpasar to Jakarta, Sirait said, when pilots reported a problem with the plane. But he said the plane was cleared by engineers and deemed airworthy when it took off on Monday morning.
Edward Sirait, the chief executive of Lion Air, added: "We don't dare to say what the facts are, or are not, yet. We are also confused about the why, since it was a new plane."
Lion Air said the pilot Bhavye Suneja and co-pilot Harvino were experienced, with more than 11,000 flight hours between them.
The cabin crew were Shintia Melina, Citra Noivita Anggelia, Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Mery Yulianda, and Deny Maula.
Lion Air was once banned from flying in Europe – so which other airlines are also restricted?
Indonesia crash pilot made chilling distress call reporting ‘technical difficulties’ moments before Lion Air flight JT610 plunged 5,000ft into sea killing 189:
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