International desk – A Lion Air passenger plane crashed Monday into the sea after taking off from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, media reports said quoting officials.
Flight JT 610 crashed after it took off from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday. It was headed for Pangkal Pinang, in the Bangka Belitung Islands, when it lost contact. Rescuers have recovered some remains and there is no sign of survivors, according to BBC.
The cause of the crash, involving a new plane in operation since August, remains unclear. Lion Air is Indonesia’s largest low-cost carrier.
The incident is reported to be the first major accident involving a Boeing 737 Max – an updated version of the 737.
Rescuers have recovered body parts from the sea. Items believed to belong to passengers have also been found in the water, including ID cards and driver’s licences.
“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” the agency’s head, Muhmmad Syaugi, told reporters. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”
Officials said the plane had been carrying 178 adults, one infant and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew. However, later reports suggested there were six cabin crew.
Distraught family members of those on board have been gathering at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport as they wait for news.
The flight was due to arrive at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang an hour later but 13 minutes into the flight, authorities lost contact with the plane.
Lion Air Chief Executive Edward Sirait has said the plane had an unspecified “technical issue” on a previous flight, but he said that this had been “resolved”.
The airline operates 11 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes but the others have not had a similar technical problem and there is no plan to ground the fleet, he said, reports BBC.