Jakarta: Indonesia’s Lion air passenger plane which took off from Jakarta to the city of Pangkal Pinang at around 6.20 am is believed to have sunk after it crashed into the sea near Indonesia’s island. As per initial reports the plane with 188 people on board are feared dead as the plane lost contact soon after it took off from the Indonesian capital.
“It has been confirmed that it has crashed”, Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the Indonesian rescue agency said.
Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility, RTE reported quoting an official from the state energy firm Pertamina.
Flight tracking service, Flightradar24 also tweeted about the missing plane saying, “We’re following reports that contact has been lost with Lion Air flight #JT610 shortly after takeoff from Jakarta.”
Local media reports said that the preliminary flight data shows a drop in the plane’s altitude and increase in speed before the transmission was cut. The plane appears to have plunged into the sea just off the coast of Indonesia, the data provided by the service shows. It was reportedly at an altitude of 3,650 feet (about 1,112m) when the signal was lost. A search and rescue has been launched.
Lion Air has made no official statement so far.
Flight JT610 is operated by a Boeing-737 Max 8, capable of seating up to 210 passengers. The accident is the first to be reported that involves the widely-sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s workhorse single-aisle jet. The first Boeing 737 MAX jets were introduced into service in 2017.
“Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation” Boeing Airplanes said in a tweet.