Indonesia Flight Crashes Into Ocean Minutes After Takeoff

29 October, 2018, 16:45 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • 20 May 2016 shows Lion Air planes parked at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Indonesia 04 November 2015

There was no sign of any survivors from Lion Air flight JT610, an nearly new Boeing 737 MAX 8, and rescue officials said later on Monday they had recovered some human remains from the crash site, about 15km off the coast.

The Lion Air jet that crashed was fit for operations, the airline said in a statement.

A Lion Air commercial plane lands at the Mutiara Sis Al Jufri airport in Palu, Indonesia's Central Sulawesi on October 7, 2018.

"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors", the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Muhmmad Syaugi, told a news conference, according to Reuters. Reports suggest that the Lion Air had taken the delivery of the following aircraft in August this year.

"We need to find the main wreckage", he added.

Weather around Jakarta was reported to be cloudy this morning, with a rising chance of rain throughout the day.

If all on board prove to have died, the Lion Air crash would rank as Indonesia's second-worst air disaster, after a Garuda Indonesia A300 crash in Medan that killed 214 people in 1997.

Australia's embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries to determine if any Australians were on board when a plane crashed into the Java Sea.

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Airline President Edward Sirait said Monday the technical problem on Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was resolved in accordance with the manufacturer's procedures. "It has been confirmed that it has crashed", rescue agency spokesperson Yusuf Latif said.

Lion Air, which flies to 126 destinations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and China, is the second largest low-priced carrier in south-east Asia (after Malaysia's AirAsia), and it's growing fast.

The incident will surely raise questions about the airline involved, Lion Air, as well as the aircraft, a Boeing 787 MAX 8.

Flight tracker websites report the aircraft had vanished from ground control displays soon after takeoff.

How is Lion Air's safety record?

Belongings of some of the passengers, a pieces from the plane, were recovered from the water. The crashed aircraft had just 800 hours of flight time, the country's National Transportation Safety Committee said.

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years.

Sony Setiawan, an official in Indonesia's finance ministry, had meant to be on board the ill-fated flight JT610, a journey he and his colleagues caught on a weekly basis.

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