Police officers carry a body bag containing the remains recovered from the area where a Lion Air passenger jet crashed. Picture: AP
Police officers carry a body bag containing the remains recovered from the area where a Lion Air passenger jet crashed. Picture: AP

CRASH HORROR: All 189 passengers dead in Lion Air disaster

UPDATE: A SEARCH and rescue agency official says he's not expecting any survivors from Lion Air flight JT610, which 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 metres deep.

The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.

 

 

Flight attendant Mery Yulyanda. Picture: Instagram
Flight attendant Mery Yulyanda. Picture: Instagram

The passenger plane had only been in service two months.

Lion Air said the plane was delivered on August 15 and had clocked 800 hours of flying time before the disaster.

There are no Boeing 737 MAX 8s in use by Australian Airlines, however Virgin Australia has a number of MAX 8s on order due to arrive by November 2019.

A Virgin Australia spokeswoman said it was too soon to comment on whether Virgin would review that order, in light of the Indonesia crash.

She said the airline would not comment on how many MAX 8s it had ordered.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 vanished from the radar 13 minutes after takeoff.

Boeing's 737 MAX fleet first went into service last year and was in use by more than 100 airlines worldwide.

The MAX 8 model can seat up to 210 passengers and is a single-aisle jet powered by twin CFM LEAP-1B engines. It is 39.5m long and has a 35.9m wingspan.

Boeing said in a statement it was "deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610".

"We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones," the statement read.

"Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation."

Lion Air plane crash: Boeing 737 crashes after takeoff

EARLIER:  A LION Air jet has crashed into the ocean after taking off from Indonesia's capital of Jakarta.

The plane lost radio contact just 13 minutes into the flight which was headed to Pangkal Pinang, an island east of Sumatra. It was carrying 189 people - including two infants and its crew. The Indonesia-based airline is known for its poor safety record.

The aircraft disappeared near Karawang in West Java province, said Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the National Search and Rescue Agency confirmed.

Lion Air flight JT610 requested to return to base, with air traffic control losing contact with the pilots after approving the request, Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country's air navigation authorities, told Reuters.

Piloting the aircraft was Captain Bhavye Suneja, assisted by co-pilot Harvino, who together had a combined total of 11,000 hours flying time, according to a statement by Lion Air.

Lion Air JT610 pilot Bhavye Suneja. Source:Supplied
Lion Air JT610 pilot Bhavye Suneja. Source:Supplied

They were assisted by flight attendants Mery Yulianda, Alviani Hidayatul Solikha, Damayanti Simarmata, Deny Maula, Citra Noivita Anggelia and Shintia Melina.

Three of the cabin crew members were in training, the statement said.

Indonesia transport ministry official says it was carrying 189 people - including two infants and its crew.

Pictures and video released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency appear to show personal items including a bag, phone and documentation among suspected debris from the crashed plane.

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief, M Syaugi said the agency had already found other debris from the aircraft including mobile phones and buoys.

He said the aircraft lost contact at 34 nautical miles from the Basarnas office in Jakarta and the agency had immediately deployed boats and a helicopter to search.

"Once we arrived at the co-ordinates we found aircraft debris, buoys, handphones as well as some other pieces. It was around two nautical miles from the co-ordinates given by air traffic control," Mr Syaugi said.

"We are there now, our vessels and helicopter, to give assistance.

"The water there is around 30 to 35 metres deep. We are now still trying to dive to find the aircraft. Hopefully the process would not take long."

Cabin crew member Alfiani Hidayatul Solikah was included in the passenger manifest of the JT 610 Lion Air plane which crashed Monday morning. Picture: Instagram
Cabin crew member Alfiani Hidayatul Solikah was included in the passenger manifest of the JT 610 Lion Air plane which crashed Monday morning. Picture: Instagram

CRASH SITE FOUND

Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) spokesperson, Yusuf Latif, told News Corporation the aircraft was believed to have crashed near Tanjung Karawang in the waters off West Java.

"It has crashed in the waters in West Java. Our team has been deployed," Mr Latif said.

The Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic controllers at 6.33am. Flight JT-610 took off from the Jakarta airport at 6.20am local time and lost contact at 6.33am. The Boeing 737 was originally scheduled to arrive at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20am.

A shipping traffic officer in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Suyadi, told The Jakarta Post that he has received a report from a tugboat, AS Jaya II, that the crew had seen a downed plane in Tanjung Bungin in Karawang, West Java.

"At 7:15am the tugboat reported it had approached the site and the crew saw the debris of a plane," Suyadi said.

As of 9am there was no report about passengers or the plane crew, he said.

Two other ships, a tanker and a cargo ship, near the location were approaching the site, he said, and a Basarnas rescue boat was also on the way.

'RAPID DESCENT'

The Flightradar website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on takeoff and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.

It says final telemetry from the aircraft indicates it was in a 'rapid descent'.

The plane involved was a Boeing Co 737 Max-8 model. The aircraft is believed to be just two months old, and a significantly updated version over older 737 models.

MANY FEARED DEAD

It wasn't initially clear how many passengers and crew were on board, though the aircraft reportedly has a passenger capacity of 210. Indonesian media citing unconformed sources as saying there were 188 on board.

Now Indonesia's rescue authorities have revealed there were 189 on the flight, including two infants.

The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman told News Corp.

DEADLY HISTORY

Just six months ago, a Lion Air plane skidded off the runway at Djalaluddin Airport in Gorontalo, Indonesia. None of the 174 passengers and seven crew members suffered injuries, with the incident destroying the plane's landing gear.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when AirAsia Indonesia's Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board.

Indonesia relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has a poor aviation safety record and has suffered several fatal crashes in recent years.

A 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed eight people in mountainous eastern Indonesia in August.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board