A Lion Air Boeing 737 carrying 188 passengers and crew crashed into the sea off the Indonesian coast shortly after take-off from Jakarta, the search and rescue agency said on Monday.
The plane - with a seating capacity of 210 - disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency. There are unconfirmed reports a tugboat crew in Karawang have reported seeing "debris of a plane" in the water, the Jakarta Post reports. Indonesia energy firm Pertamina official also report debris, including plane seats, have been seen near its offshore facility in Java Sea
Indonesia's Lion Air has confirmed it lost contact with a passenger airplane flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang. Indonesia transport ministry official says it was carrying 189 people - including two infants and crew.
A tugboat crew in Karawang has now reported seeing "debris of a plane" in the water, and a vessel belonging to Indonesia energy firm Pertamina official has reported seeing more debris, including plane seats, near its offshore facility in the Java Sea.
Indonesia transport ministry official says it was carrying 189 people - including two infants and its crew.
Pictures and video released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency appear to show personal items including a bag, phone and documentation among suspected debris from the crashed plane.
Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had already found other debris from the aircraft including mobile phones and buoys.
He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.
"Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control," Mr Syaugi said.
"We are there now, our vessels and helicopter, to give assistance.
"The water there is around 30 to 35 metres deep. We are now still trying to dive to find the aircraft. Hopefully the process would not take long."
CRASH SITE FOUND
Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesperson, Yusuf Latif, told News Corporation the aircraft was believed to have crashed near Tanjung Karawang in the waters off West Java.
"It has crashed in the waters in West Java. Our team has been deployed," Mr Latif said.
The Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic controllers at 6.33am. Flight JT-610 took off from the Jakarta airport at 6.20am local time and lost contact at 6.33am. The Boeing 737 was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am.
A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, told The Jakarta Post that he has received a report from a tugboat, AS Jaya II, that the crew had seen a downed plane in Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.
"At 7:15am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane," Suyadi said.
As of 9am there was no report about passengers or the plane crew, he said.
Two other ships, a tanker and a cargo ship, near the location were approaching the site, he said, and a Basarnas rescue boat was also on the way.
The Flightradar website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on takeoff and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.
It says final telemetry from the aircraft indicates it was in a 'rapid descent'.
The plane involved was a Boeing Co 737 Max-8 model. The aircraft is believed to be just two months old, and a significantly updated version over older 737 models.
MANY FEARED DEAD
It wasn't initially clear how many passengers and crew were on board, though the aircraft reportedly has a passenger capacity of 210. Indonesian media citing unconformed sources as saying there were 188 on board.
Now Indonesia's rescue authorities have revealed there were 189 on the flight, including two infants.
The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman told News Corp.
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