A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane, which took off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, for Pangkal Pinang, in the Bangka Belitung Islands, crashed into the sea on Monday morning. The brand-new aircraft had 189 people on board, including eight crew members. There were at least 23 government officials among the passengers on the plane, according to Lion Air.
As per reports, the flight JT-610 took off around 6:20 am. It lost radio contact with the ground just 13 minutes into the flight over Karawang, in West Java province, the airport authorities said. The plane was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am. Data from aircraft tracking website FlightAware showed it had reached an altitude of only 5,200 feet (1,580 meters).
Muhammad Syaugi, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, confirmed that debris, including plane seats, has been found in the Java Sea. As far as survivors are concerned, Syaugi the rescue team hasn’t yet found any survivors yet.
“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” said Syaugi. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”
Syaugi added that authorities hadn’t received a distress signal from the aircraft’s emergency transmitter, but rescue officers had recovered life vests, mobile phones, and some other parts from the aircraft. Video and pictures released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency show a bag, phone, and documentation among suspected debris recovered from the crashed plane.
According to the official statement released by Lion Air, Captain Bhavye Suneja was piloting the aircraft with co-pilot Harvino, who together had a combined total of 11,000 hours flying time. The two were assisted by flight attendants Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Mery Yulianda, Damayanti Simarmata, Deny Maula, Shintia Melina, and Citra Noivita Anggelia. Three of the cabin crew members were in training.
Currently, the top priority of the investigators will be to find the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder to determine the main cause of the crash.