Indonesian plane with 189 on board crashes into sea

An Indonesian passenger plane carrying 189 people, including one child and two infants, on Monday crashed into the sea close to the capital Jakarta, minutes after take-off.

Those on board were 181 passengers, as well as six crew members and two pilots.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said the Lion Air flight, JT610, lost contact 13 minutes after take-off, adding that a tugboat leaving the capital’s port had seen the craft falling.

“It has been confirmed that it has crashed,” the spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said by text message, when asked about the fate of the plane, which air tracking service Flight radar 24 identified as a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility in the Java Sea, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.

Wreckage had been found near where the plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency said.

“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter.

“We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”

An official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash.

Confirmation of the crash would have to wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder are known.

“We will collect all data from the control tower,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono.

“The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too.

“But the most important is the black box.”

The captain of the plane, Bhavye Suneja, an Indian national, had more than 6,000 flight hours, and his co-pilot, named Harvino, more than 5,000, according to a statement posted by Lion Air.

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