Indonesia's Lion Air flight crashes into the sea

Indonesia's Lion Air flight crashes into the sea

An Indonesian aircraft with 189 people on board crashed into the sea today as it tried to circle back to the capital, Jakarta, from where it had taken off minutes earlier, and there were likely no survivors, officials said.

Lion Air flight JT610, an almost new Boeing 737 MAX 8, was en route to Pangkal Pinang, capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region. Rescue officials said they had recovered some human remains from the crash site, about 15 km off the coast, Reuters reported.

The pilot had asked to return to base (RTB) after the plane took off from Jakarta. It lost contact with ground staff after 13 minutes.

At least 23 government officials, four employees of state tin miner PT Timah and three employees of a Timah subsidiary, were on the plane. 

The plane went down in waters about 30 meters to 35 meters deep. Items such as handphones and life vests were found, along with the body parts.

Ambulances were lined up at Karawang, on the coast east of Jakarta, and police were preparing rubber dinghies. Fishing boats were being used to help search.

The accident is the first to be reported involving the widely sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s workhorse single-aisle jet.

Privately owned Lion Air said the aircraft had been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having accumulated 11,000 hours of flying time.

The flight took off in clear weather at around 6.20 a.m. and was due to have landed in Pangkal Pinang at 7.20 a.m.

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