Jakarta (Agencies): An Indonesian Lion Air passenger plane crashed into a sea few minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta on Monday, search and rescue officials confirmed.
An official from Indonesia’s transport ministry has said there were around 188 people on board, including crew. There is no official comment about the casualties so far.
A statement from Lion Air said that the plane took off at 6:20 a.m. local time (7:20 p.m. ET Sunday). It added that the aircraft was a Boeing 737 Max 8, manufactured in 2018, and was in operation since Aug. 15, 2018. The Boeing 737 Max 8 is one of Boeing's newest airplanes and a variant of its best-selling narrowbody jets.
An official from Indonesia's disaster agency tweeted that several pieces of wreckage were found in the waters off the coast of West Java.
Serpihan pesawat Lion Air JT 610 yang jatuh di perairan Karawang. Beberapa kapal tug boad membantu menangani evakuasi. Video diambil petugas tug boad yang ada di perairan Karawang. pic.twitter.com/4GhKcRYkpG— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 29, 2018
The Ministry of Transportation said that the flight, JT610, took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport and lost contact with the air traffic controller at around 6:33 a.m. Monday (7:33 p.m. ET Sunday).
The plane asked to return to base before disappearing from radar, according to a press statement from the transport ministry.
Lion Air also said that the flight captain Bhavye Suneja had more than 6,000 hours of flight time while the co-pilot, Harvino, had about 5,000 hours of flight time.