Indonesian Flight Carrying 188 Passengers Crashes Minutes After Take-Off

Indonesia: Passenger Plane Flight JT610 From Jakarta Crashes 13 Minutes After Take-off

Bambang Suryo Ali, operational director of the Basarnas, Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said: "We need to find the main wreckage".

The same model of a new type of aircraft that crashed into the ocean after taking off from Indonesia's capital of Jakarta is set to be used by Australian airlines.

The government confirmed this evening that no Malaysians had been on board the Lion Air flight carrying 189 people that crashed into the sea north of Jakarta today. Twenty Indonesian Finance Department officials were also on the flight.

"Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation", it said, adding that in accordance with worldwide protocol, all inquiries should be directed to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee.

The Boeing 737 MAX, one of the latest variations of the American-built aircraft, was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang, in Bangka Belitung Islands province, at 7.20am.

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

"We are waiting for the miracle from God", said Wiryanto, when asked if there's any hope of survivors.

Lion Air is a budget carrier and has been involved in a number of incidents.

Indonesia's rescue agency says they have found plane debris at the crash site, while a statement from Boeing on its Twitter handle said that "Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation".




Indonesia's Air Force says it has deployed three helicopters for search and evacuation in the waters of Tanjung Karawang.

Earlier this morning, Lion Air flight JT610 suddenly fell off the radar minutes after taking off.

Lion Air Group said it had no immediate comment. 'We are also confused about the why, since it was a new plane'.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said it was still determining if any Australians were on board.

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 Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent inquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected", the statement read.

Lion Air was established and operates domestic flights as well as worldwide routes to South East Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

Aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman told the BBC the MAX 8 had been experiencing problems since it was introduced, including problems maintaining a level flight.

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