JAKARTA (Xinhua) – A passenger plane of Indonesia’s Lion Air with 189 people aboard crashed into the sea off Karawang of Indonesia’s West Java province shortly after taking off from Jakarta yesterday.
Head of the national Search and Rescue Office M. Syaugi said rescuers have found the wreckage of the plane with flight number JT 610 in a location about 2 nautical miles from Jakarta.
“We have found wreckage of the plane, we saw handphone and bags,” he told a press conference at his office.
The wreckage was spotted in the waters with an average depth between 30 meters and 35 meters, said Mr Syaugi.
Rescuers were heading to the location for search and rescue operation, he said.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane took off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta international airport at around 6:10 am local time (2310 GMT) and was bound for Pangkal Pinang, spokesman of the Transport Ministry Bambang Ervan said.
“The plane had requested the air traffic control to return to base before disappearing from radar,” Mr Ervan told Xinhua by phone.
A total of 178 out of the 189 people onboard were passengers, including one child and two babies, he said.
“We cannot give any comment at this moment,” Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group, told Reuters, adding that a news conference was planned yesterday. “We are trying to collect all the information and data.”
Preliminary flight tracking data from Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea.
It was last recorded at 3,650 feet (1,113 m) and its speed had risen to 345 knots, according to raw data captured by the respected tracking website, which could not immediately be confirmed.
Its last recorded position was about 15 km north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24.