Passenger jet with 188 on board crashes into sea off Indonesia coast

Passenger jet with 188 on board crashes into sea off Indonesia coast

The plane, which was scheduled to land at Depati Amir Airport at 7:10 a.m., lost contact with air traffic control at 6:33 a.m. shortly after it took off at 6:20 a.m. from Soekarno-Hatta. Its Malaysian subsidiary was the first airline in the world to receive a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

"It has been confirmed that it has crashed", rescue agency spokesperson Yusuf Latif said.

An agency spokesman posted photos of the debris including a crushed smartphone, books, bags, and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels.

Items believed to belong to passengers have been found in the water, including ID cards and driver's licences, the search and rescue agency said on Twitter.

"The aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, one child and two babies, with two pilots and five flight attendants", said Sindu Rahayu, directorate general of Civil Aviation at the transport ministry.

If all on board prove to have died, the Lion Air crash would rank as Indonesia's second-worst air disaster, after a Garuda Indonesia A300 crash in Medan that killed 214 people in 1997.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft en-route to Pangkal Pinang city crashed near Kerawang, 32 miles east of Jakarta.

Debris was also seen near an offshore oil refinery operated by state-owned energy firm Pertamina, an official from the firm said.

Bhavyte Suneja was the captain of the Indonesian Lion Air Flight. They routinely took this flight.

Australian government officials have been warned not to fly with Lion Air after the crash.

Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait said the Boeing jet had experienced a technical issue that required it to be briefly grounded for repairs.

"We have forwarded the information to search and rescue teams".

Lion Air Spokesman on Flight 610, which reportedly crashed off the coast of Indonesia, said: "We can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet".

"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors", Syaugi told a press conference.

Lion Air, a low-priced carrier, is Indonesia's largest private airline.

Relatives and loved ones of the passengers have gathered at the airport in Pangkal Pinang to await news.

An artist's rendition courtesy of Boeing shows a 737 MAX passenger jet in Lion Air livery.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is heavily reliant on air travel, but many of its airlines have a poor safety record.

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