189 people are feared dead after a Lion Air flight plunged into the ocean off Jakarta not long after takeoff yesterday morning.
Flight JT610 was on its way from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka when it lost contact with air traffic control 13 minutes after takeoff, just after the pilot has requested to turn back to base.
Witnesses report seeing the plane nosedive into the sea, according to the ABC.
Debris including life jackets, passengers personal effects and human remains were found at the crash site.
The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) deputy of operations Brigadier General Bambang Suryo Aji said they don’t expect to find any survivors.
Beberapa serpihan pesawat Lion Air JT 610 yang jatuh di perairan Karawang. Pesawat membawa 178 penumpang dewasa, 1 penumpang anak-anak dan 2 bayi dengan 2 Pilot dan 5 FA. Basarnas dan Kementerian Perhubungan terus melakukan penanganan. Beberapa kapal tug boad berada di lokasi. pic.twitter.com/Gb6P4zjCQF
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 29, 2018
“My prediction is nobody saved. All dead,” Aji said.
“We found human body parts such as arms, legs, ears. We have brought them to the police hospital in Jakarta.”
SmartTraveller has advised Australian government officials & contractors not to fly Lion Air in the wake of the crash.
Indonesia: Following the fatal crash of a #LionAir plane on 29 October 2018, Australian government officials & contractors have been instructed not to fly on Lion Air. This decision will be reviewed when the findings of the crash investigation are clear. https://t.co/bYLVnkkXV5
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) October 29, 2018
The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, which was launched globally just last year, and had only been in use for three months.
The airline CEO Edward Sirait said the plane had suffered a technical error the night before but had been cleared to fly by Monday morning, the Guardian reported.
20 of the passengers were Indonesian finance department officials on their way home from a conference.
Indonesia’s search and rescue agency has confirmed the planes emergency transmitter had not sent out a distress signal, though it was certified to work until August 2019.
The agency also said the cause of the crash is still a “big question” as the black box had still not been recovered yet.