A Lion Air passenger plane from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang, that went missing 13 minutes after take-off on Monday morning at 6.33 am, has crashed in the Java Sea, 15 miles off Jakarta Airport, confirmed Bangka rescue agency. Just after the plane went missing, AirNav Indonesia spokesman Yohanes Harry Douglas said in a statement, "It's true that Lion Air JT 610 has lost contact. We have forwarded the information to search and rescue teams." According to The Straits Times as qoted by news agency ANI, the plane had requested a return to base before disappearing from radar.
The plane involved in the crash was a Boeing Co. 737 Max-8 model. The Indonesian aviation ministry said that there were 189 people on board, including 179 adults, three children, seven crew members. The aircraft reached a maximum height of about 5,450 feet after take off and descended rapidly at about 6.31 am, according to data on Flightradar24.com. Indonesia's rescue agency says they have found plane debris at the crash site, while a statement from Boeing on its Twitter handle said that "Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation."
The National Transportation Safety Committee said in a briefing that the search team also found some personal belongings such as mobile phones, along with life vests, according to head of rescue agency Muhammad Syaugi.They are still hopeful of finding survivors. The site where the plane crashed is within the Java sea. These are shallow waters with an average depth of about 46 meters, or 141 meters.
Lion Air is the largest privately-owned Indonesian airline and among the major customers for Boeing and Airbus in Asia. The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014, when AirAsia Indonesia’s Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.