A LION Air jet that took off from Jakarta airport flying to Pangkalpinang was reported missing 13 mins after it took off.
According to the nation’s rescue agency the plane crashed shortly after as unconfirmed reports from a tugboat crew in Karawang that they have seen “debris of a plane” in the water.
The passenger plane seats 210 people although the rescue agency confim that 188 people and 2 infants were on board the plane, and disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency.
The airline has confirmed that it lost contact with the plane.
A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, told The Jakarta Post that “At 7:15 am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane,”
There is no report on the passengers or the plane crew as of 9 am, but a tanker, a Basarnas rescue boat and a cargo ship are approaching close to the site where debris was seen.
Flightradar24 tweeted “We are downloading and processing granular ADS-B data that was transmitted by the aircraft, but preliminary data show an increase in speed and decrease in altitude at last transmission”
The Flightradar website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on takeoff and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.
The telemetry from the aircraft indicates that it was in a ‘rapid descent’.
The plane was a Boeing Co 737 Max -8 model and is believed to be only two months old is an updated version over the older Boeing 737 models.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman of Australia has tried to reach out to Australian Embassy in Jakarta to determine if any Australians were affected.
This wasn’t the first Lion Air Jet has faced an incident with its planes, six months ago their airplane had skidded off the runway at Djalaluddin Airport in Gorontalo, Indonesia. Though none of the 174 passengers and seven crew members suffered injuries, the incident destroying the plane’s landing gear.
And in April 2013, a Lion Air Jet crashed into the sea in Bali due to pilot errors, inadequate crew training and lapses in emergency response procedures left 45 people severely injured.
Due to the number of accidents Lion Air Jet and many other Indonesian airlines have suffered, the airline banned from operating in Euopean airspace, because of the European Commission’s concerns about the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) ability to provide proper regulatory oversight of the country’s airline. And in an effort to remove it self from the banned list they ordered the new Boeing airplanes.
Indonesia has suffered many fatal crashes in the past few years and though it heavily relies on air travel as a key mode of transportation between its islands and for tourism, it has a very poor aviation safety record.
Officials confirm the pilot, an Indian died in the crash, confirmed the Indian Embassy in Jakarta.
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 are known”
“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.”