A Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia’s capital on Monday in a blow to the country’s aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and US.
Boeing issued a statement saying it “is deeply saddened by the loss of flight JT 610” a 737 MAX 8 en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang. It expressed concern for those on board, and extended heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones.
It noted that the Indonesia Ministry of Transportation has located the wreckage of the plane but gave no additional details. “Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation. In accordance with international protocol, all inquiries about aviation accident investigations must be directed to the Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC).”
Search and rescue workers have found debris believed to have come from the plane.
An air transport official, Novie Riyanto, said the flight was cleared to return to Jakarta after the pilot made a “return to base” request two to three minutes after taking off. It plunged into the sea about 10 minutes later. Weather conditions were normal but the brand-new aircraft had experienced a technical issue on its previous flight.
Lion Air said the jet, on a 1 hour and 10-minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members.
It said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.
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