Plane crash in Jakarta takes 189 lives
The week started off on a tragic note for families in Indonesia. An airliner crashed into the sea in Jakarta with 189 people on board.
The Boeing 737 Max is a low-cost airline owned by Lion Air. The plane went down after taking off from the capital.
On Monday, Flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 or 23:30 GMT on Sunday. The plane was due to arrive at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang an hour later.
Instead, 13 minutes into the flight authorities lost contact. According to officials, at one point the pilot had asked to return to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.
Currently, there is no sign of survivors. This was the first major incident to be reported which involves a Boeing 737 Max, an updated version of the 737.
Bambang Suryo, operational director of the search and rescue agency said:
"We need to find the main wreckage. I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far."
Lion Air Chief Executive Edward Sirait stated that the plane had an unspecified "technical issue" on a previous flight. However, he shared that the issue had been "resolved."
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the head of Indonesia's disaster agency tweeted images of debris and personal belongings that came from the aircraft. These items were found floating in the sea.
Relatives of those on board waited anxiously for any news at a crisis center at Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. A desk was set up by Lion Air staff members under a white tent.
There, family members had to give their details. They were asked to specify their relationship to the missing person who had been on board the plane.
In a statement, Lion Air revealed that the pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 flight hours between them. Three members of the crew on board were trainee flight attendants and one was a technician.
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati shared that twenty employees from Indonesia's finance ministry were also on board. A ministry spokesperson said they worked at the finance ministry offices in Pangkal Pinang but had been in Jakarta for the weekend.
So far, boats, a helicopter, and rescuers were searching 34 nautical miles northeast of the coast near Jakarta to find any wreckage in the Java Sea. Authorities said they were still trying to locate the main fuselage.
Search teams were using equipment to try to detect an underwater locator beacon. They are working on the assumption that the plane has sunk.
Since the crash, an Australian government official said that Australian government officials and contractors were advised not to fly Lion Air. The decision will be reviewed once the findings of the crash investigation are clear.
Dating back from 1991, Indonesia has had seven deadly air crashes. In 1991, an Air Force plane crashed in East Jakarta minutes after taking off when an engine caught fire.
According to reports, 135 people were killed and 1 passenger survived. The other seven crashes have been detailed here.