A flight carrying 189 passengers on board crashed into the sea on Monday morning, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said. The flight had taken off from Jakarta to the city of Pangkal Pinang off the island of Sumatra and crashed minutes later into the sea.
An official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash, which would have to wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
Accordingly, the plane lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff. Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility in the Java Sea, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.
“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency said. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”
“We cannot give any comment at this moment, said Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group. “We are trying to collect all the information and data.”
The Boeing 737-800 departed the Indonesian capital about 6.20 a.m. for Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra. Data for Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following takeoff.
A telegram from the National Search and Rescue Agency to the air force has requested assistance with the search of a location at sea off Java. A report to the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cites the crew of a tug boat reporting a Lion Air flight falling from the sky. It said several vessels have headed to the location.
Lion Air aircraft had requested to return to base shortly before losing contact, Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities said, reported Reuters. “The (traffic) control allowed that, but then it lost contact,” Sirait added.
Reuters reported that 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 (9 miles) north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24.