Indonesian Lion Air Flight JT-610 passenger jet ‘missing’

A PASSENGER plane operated by budget carrier Lion Air has crashed minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s international airport, officials say.

Indonesian Lion Air Flight JT-610 passenger jet ‘missing’
A Lion Air passenger jet is missing. It’s not the first incident involving the airline in recent years, this plane carrying more than 100 passengers and crew overshot a runway on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Picture: AP /

A LION Air jet has crashed in Indonesia while flying from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang, according to the nation’s rescue agency.

The plane — with a seating capacity of 210 — disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency. There are unconfirmed reports a tugboat crew in Karawang have reported seeing “debris of a plane” in the water, the Jakarta Post reports.

Indonesia’s Lion Air has confirmed it lost contact with a passenger airplane flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang.

A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, told The Jakarta Post that he has received a report from a tugboat, AS Jaya II, that the crew had seen a downed plane in Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.

“At 7:15am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane,” Suyadi said.

As of 9am there was no report about passengers or the plane crew, he said.

Two other ships, a tanker and a cargo ship, near the location were approaching the site, he said, and a Basarnas rescue boat was also on the way.

The Indonesian authorities have mounted a search and rescue operation for a missing Lion Air plane, which lost contact with air traffic controllers at 6.33am.

The Lion Air flight JT-610 took off from the Jakarta airport at 6.20am local time and lost contact at 6.33am. The Boeing 737 was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am.

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 plane involved was a Boeing Co 737 Max-8 model. The aircraft is believed to be just two months old, and a significantly updated version over older 737 models.

It wasn’t clear how many passengers and crew were on board.

Indonesia’s state air navigation operator AirNav has alerted search and rescue authorities, spokesman Yohannes Harry Douglas said in a text message.

Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said “we can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet”.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when AirAsia Indonesia’s Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

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.

A 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed eight people in mountainous eastern Indonesia in August.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board