BREAKING | Lion Air B737 crashes after take-off, 189 feared dead
Lion Air Flight JT610 en-route to Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia, has crashed into the sea 13 minutes after taking off from the Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) early morning on October 29, 2018. Officials fear all 189 lives on board may have been lost in the crash.
Flight JT610 took off from the Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) in the Greater Jakarta area on the island of Java, at 6:20 AM local time and was scheduled to arrive in Pangkal Pinang, the main city on the Indonesian island of Bangka, at 7:20 AM.
Shortly after taking off from Jakarta, the 737 MAX 8 disappeared from radar, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (SAR) reports.
Before losing contact, Flight JT610 requested a return to the airport. Indonesian officials confirmed that the Jakarta Air Traffic Control (ATC) had approved the return, according to The Guardian.
“The (traffic) control allowed that, but then it lost contact,” Yohanes Sirait, spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities, told Reuters.
The aircraft was last seen on radar at 6:22 AM at 2,500 to 3,000 feet, Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of the National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) was quoted as saying by CNN.
Officials have confirmed that no emergency distress signal had been received from the aircraft, The Guardian reports.
The 737 MAX 8 is believed to have sunk in the Java Sea, near Kerawang, West of Java. Waters at the presumed crash site are 30 to 35 meters (around 98 to 115 feet) deep. Flight data reportedly showed the aircraft made a sudden, sharp dive into the sea.
"The plane crashed into water about 30m to 40m deep," spokesman for SAR Yusuf Latif was quoted as saying by the BBC.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two infants, as well as the captain and his co-pilot, three trainee flight attendants and one technician on board. It is believed that there were 20 Indonesia’s Finance Ministry officials on board the flight.
According to a statement by Boeing, the Indonesia Ministry of Transportation has confirmed it has located the wreckage of the 737 MAX 8. Rescue teams, including divers, assisted by helicopters have been deployed to the crash site in efforts to find any survivors.
"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors," the chief of SAR, Muhmmad Syaugi, told reporters earlier, as quoted by the BBC. "We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm."
Indonesia‘s National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) has released images showing officials examining the debris from the plane.
Meanwhile, on his official Twitter account, the head of BNPB, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, has shared images seemingly showing debris and personal items, such as cellphones, backpacks, ID cards and driver’s licenses, that came from the sunken aircraft and had been found floating in the sea.
Beberapa serpihan pesawat Lion Air JT 610 yang jatuh di perairan Karawang. Pesawat membawa 178 penumpang dewasa, 1 penumpang anak-anak dan 2 bayi dengan 2 Pilot dan 5 FA. Basarnas dan Kementerian Perhubungan terus melakukan penanganan. Beberapa kapal tug boad berada di lokasi. pic.twitter.com/Gb6P4zjCQF— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 29, 2018
Authorities said they are trying to locate the Emergency Locator Transmitter which is currently not transmitting, The Guardian reports.
In the wake of the accident, Boeing released a statement saying the company was "deeply saddened" by the loss of Flight JT 610.
“We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones,” the statements reads.
The U.S. plane maker also says it is ready to provide technical assistance to the investigation into the crash.
According to an official statement released by Lion Air, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (registration PK-LQP) was manufactured in 2018 and had been flying with the airline for just a couple of months – since August 15, 2018. The aircraft was declared operationally feasible, the airline says.
The captain of flight JT610, Bhavye Suneja, had 6,000 flight hours, while his co-pilot, Harvino, had more than 5,000 flight hours.
Lion Air says it is “concerned with the incident” and pledges to work with relevant authorities and agencies.
We will be updating the news on the crash of Lion Air Flight JT610 throughout the day.
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