Indonesia says no survivors from plane crash
KARAWANG, Indonesia (AP) - A search and rescue agency official says he's not expecting any survivors from the Lion Air plane that crashed into seas off Jakarta with 189 people aboard.
The operations director at the agency, Bambang Suryo Aji, says the search effort is focusing on finding bodies. He said six body bags have been used so far for human remains recovered.
Aji said the location of the plane hull hasn't been identified yet. Waters where it sank are up to 30 meters (100 feet) deep.
The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.
Indonesian aviation and transport safety officials say a Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea with 189 people on board had been cleared by air traffic controllers to return to Jakarta's airport following a request from its pilot about two to three minutes after takeoff.
The plane, which was delivered to Lion Air in August, crashed about 13 minutes after taking off.
Novie Riyanto, the head of AirNav, which manages air traffic in Indonesia, said the pilot made a "RTB" or return to base request "just two or three minutes after it took off and the ATC has approved."
At the same news conference, a Lion Air official said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.
An Indian Embassy official in Jakarta says one of the pilots of a Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia was an Indian citizen.
Debashis Biswas identified the pilot as Bhavye Suneja.
He said there were no Indian passengers on board the flight, which crashed minutes after takeoff early Monday.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he has ordered the National Commission for Transportation Safety to investigate crash of a Lion Air plane.
He said rescuers are making their best efforts to find victims and urged Indonesians "to keep on praying."
Widodo, speaking in Bali where he was attending a conference, said he feels the anxiety of families and hopes they can remain calm while rescuers are working hard at the crash location at sea northeast of Jakarta.
The plane with 189 people on board crashed minutes after takeoff early Monday.
Lion Air's president says the plane that crashed into the sea Monday had a technical problem on its last flight that was resolved.
Airline President Edward Sirait said Monday the technical problem on Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was resolved in accordance with the manufacturer's procedures. He wasn't more specific but said the problem on the earlier flight would be part of the investigation of Monday's crash.
Separately, Indonesia's Directorate-General of Air Transportation said the flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang requested to return to Jakarta shortly after takeoff from the capital's airport. The plane crashed into the sea about 13 minutes after takeoff.
In a statement about the tragedy, the air transportation agency's spokesman Sindu Rahayu said, "The plane had requested a return to base before disappearing from the radar." It gave no other details about the request.
Boeing says it is "deeply saddened" by the crash of a Lion Air plane off the Indonesian coast and offered to help with the investigation.
Lion Air Flight 610 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Monday morning. Searchers so far have found plane debris and personal items but no bodies.
The 737 Max 8 plane was bound for Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra.
The Chicago-based planemaker said it is prepared to provide technical assistance into the crash probe, which will be carried out by Indonesian investigators.
In its statement, Boeing Co. expressed its concern for the 189 people onboard, and offered "heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones."
Families are turning up at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency headquarters in Jakarta for word of their loved ones after a Lion Air plane crashed at sea.
Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani met with the agency chief, seeking information about 20 finance ministry staff who were on the flight. The Boeing plane disappeared Monday morning and the search is concentrating in oil-slickened waters where debris has been found.
Feni, who uses a single name, said her soon-to-be-married sister was on the flight, planning to meet relatives in Pangkal Pinang.
"We are here to find any information about my younger sister, her fiance, her in-law to be and a friend of them," said Feni.
"We don't have any information," she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes. "No one provided us with any information that we need. "We're confused. We hope that our family is still alive," she said.
Aviation tracking website Flightradar24 says the Lion Air plane that crashed after takeoff from Jakarta was a brand-new aircraft that has only been in use for a couple of months.
The site says the 737 Max 8 plane was registered as PK-LQP and was delivered to the airline in August.
Vessels searching in the water for the Flight 610 wreckage have found various items of debris.
The Max 8 is part of Boeing Co.'s latest narrow-body 737 series. It replaced the similar 737-800 in the Chicago-based planemaker's product line.
Boeing spokesman Paul Lewis says Boeing is "closely monitoring the situation" but did not provide details on the aircraft in question.
Indonesia's disaster agency says a Lion Air passenger jet crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta and was carrying 188 passengers and crew.
Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho posted photos on Twitter of debris including a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels that have converged on the area.
He said the flight was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members.
Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.
A search and rescue effort is being conducted at sea for a Lion Air passenger jet that lost contact shortly after it left Jakarta.
The Boeing 737-800 departed the Indonesian capital about 6.20 a.m. for Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra. Data for Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following takeoff.
"We can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact," said Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro. "Its position cannot be ascertained yet."
A telegram from the National Search and Rescue Agency to the air force has requested assistance with the search of a location at sea off Java.
A report to the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cites the crew of a tug boat reporting a Lion Air flight falling from the sky. It said several vessels have headed to the location.
Indonesia's Lion Air says it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra.
A search and rescue effort has been launched for the Boeing 737-800 plane which departed Jakarta about 6.20 a.m. on Monday.
Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said "we can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet."
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