Indonesia: Lion Air aircraft crashes into the sea with 188 on board.

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Ritika Bhoora

A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane that was on a scheduled flight from Jakarta (the Capital of Indonesia) to Pangkal Pinang, the main town in the Bangka Belitung Islands has reportedly crashed into the sea.

Flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday morning. It was scheduled to land in Pangkal Pinang an hour later. However, 13 minutes after take off the authorities lost all contact with the plane. Shortly after that, a tug boat leaving Jakarta’s port saw the aircraft crash into the sea off Indonesia’s island of Java.

An official from Indonesia’s search and rescue agency confirmed that the plane has crashed with over 188 people on board. Officials said the plane carried 178 adults, one infant, two babies along with two pilots and five cabin crew.
Debris of the plane was seen near an offshore oil refinery operated by state-owned energy firm Pertamina.

Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency said, “We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors.We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”

Flightradar24’s preliminary flight tracking data revealed that the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then reattaining height, before finally falling towards the sea. The aircraft was last recorded at 3,650 feet at a speed of 345 knots, 15 km north of the Indonesian coastline.

Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group said, “We cannot give any comment at this moment.We are trying to collect all the information and data.”

This is the first accident involving the widely-sold, more fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX. In an official tweet by Boeing Airplanes the firm said, “Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation.”