JAKARTA, Oct 29: A Lion Air Boeing passenger plane carrying 188 people on board requested air control for return, minutes after taking off from here, before crashing into the sea on Monday. A rescue and search operation is underway, officials said.
"Several pieces of Lion Air JT 610 aircraft that crashed in the waters of Karawang (was found)," Head of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted.
The budget airline's aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, a child, two babies with two pilots and five flight attendants, Nugroho said, adding that the National Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, and the Ministry of Transportation were "handling" the situation. "Some ships tug boats were on location," he added.
Flight JT-610, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 -- a brand new type of aircraft -- was on a scheduled flight to Pangkal Pinang, the main city in the Bangka Belitung Islands.
It lost contact with ground control a few minutes after take-off, and was last tracked crossing the sea, Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the national search and rescue agency said confirming the crash.
The Lion Air flight took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport at 6.20 a.m. After a short flight, it was due to arrive in Pangkal Pinang an hour later, the BBC said. But it lost contact at 6.33 a.m. - IANS