Indonesian passenger flight carrying 189 people crashes into sea

  • A Lion Air flight carrying around 189 people, including crew, from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta crashed into the sea off the island of Java on Monday shortly after take-off, according to officials.
  • There was no immediate word on fatalities or injuries.
  • An official from Indonesia's disaster agency tweeted that several pieces of wreckage were found in the waters off the coast of West Java.

A Lion Air flight carrying 189 people, including crew, from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta crashed into the sea off the island of Java on Monday shortly after take-off, according to officials.

There was no immediate word on fatalities or injuries.

The Ministry of Transportation has confirmed that 189 people were on board the plane, after initially reporting that there were 188 passengers. According to the ministry, Lion Air flight JT610 took off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport and lost contact with the air traffic controller at around 6:33 a.m. Monday (7:33 p.m. ET Sunday).

The plane was headed to the city of Pangkal Pinang off the island of Sumatra.

A statement from Lion Air said that the plane took off at 6:20 a.m. local time (7:20 p.m. ET Sunday). It added that the aircraft was a Boeing 737 Max 8, manufactured in 2018, and was in operation since Aug. 15, 2018. The Boeing 737 Max 8 is one of Boeing's newest airplanes and a variant of its best-selling narrowbody jets.

An official from Indonesia's disaster agency tweeted that several pieces of wreckage were found in the waters off the coast of West Java.

Lion Air also said that the flight captain Bhavye Suneja had more than 6,000 hours of flight time while the co-pilot, Harvino, had about 5,000 hours of flight time.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for the country's search and rescue agency said that a tug boat leaving Jakarta's port had seen the aircraft falling. Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency, told Reuters by text that the flight "has been confirmed that it has crashed."

Debris thought to be from the aircraft was said to have been found near an offshore refining facility of state energy firm Pertamina.

A spokeswoman for Boeing told CNBC that the firm is "deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight JT 610." The company stands "ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation."

Members of a rescue team prepare to search for survivors from the Lion Air flight JT 610, which crashed into the sea, at Jakarta seaport on October 29, 2018. 
Resmi Malau | AFP | Getty Images
Members of a rescue team prepare to search for survivors from the Lion Air flight JT 610, which crashed into the sea, at Jakarta seaport on October 29, 2018. 

A spokeswoman for engine maker CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and France's Safran, said the plane was powered by its CFM LEAP 1B engines.

"CFM ... is standing by to offer any assistance required by Lion Air, the National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesian, and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board," she said in a statement.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.

— Reuters, The Associated Press and CNBC's Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.