Indonesia plane with 188 on board crashes into sea

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Gb news24 desk//

A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane with 188 people on board has come down after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Flight JT-610 was on a scheduled flight to Pangkal Pinang, the main city in the Bangka Belitung Islands, reports BBC.

It lost contact with ground control a few minutes after take-off, and was last tracked crossing the sea – it is unclear if there are any survivors.

The plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a brand new type of aircraft. Flight JT-610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday morning (23:30 GMT on Sunday). After a short flight, it was due to arrive in Pangkal Pinang an hour later.

At a news conference, officials said it had been carrying 178 adults, 1 infant and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew.

The head of Indonesia’s disaster agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, has tweeted images which he said showed debris and personal belongings that came from the aircraft.

He also shared a video he said had been taken from a tugboat off Karawang, just east of Jakarta, which appeared to show debris floating in the water.

Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the national search and rescue agency told reporters: “It has been confirmed that it has crashed.”

Airline Chief executive Edward Sirait earlier told Reuters: “We cannot give any comment at this moment. We are trying to collect all the information and data.”

The aircraft was reported to be a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a model only in use since 2016. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 said the aircraft had only been delivered to Lion Air in August.

Aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman told the BBC the MAX 8 had been experiencing problems since it was introduced, including problems maintaining a level flight.

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