JUST IN! Plane crashes into sea with 189 aboard

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An aircraft with 189 passengers on board is believed to have sunk after crashing into the sea off Indonesia’s island of Java on Monday.

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from the capital on its way to the country’s tin-mining hub, officials said.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said the Lion Air flight, JT610, lost contact 13 minutes after take-off, adding that a tug boat leaving the capital’s port had seen the craft falling. “It has been confirmed that it has crashed,” the spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said by text message, when asked about the fate of the plane, which air tracking service Flightradar 24 identified as a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility in the Java Sea, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.

Wreckage had been found near where the plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency said. “We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter. “We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.” An official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash.

Confirmation of the crash 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 cannot give any comment at this moment,” Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group, said.

(Reuters/NAN)


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