According to CNN, six passengers have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of an ill-fated Indonesian flight that reportedly crashed within minutes after take-off.
Lion Air flight JT 610 was carrying 189 people on Monday, October 29, when air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane 13 minutes into the flight. The plane had departed Jakarta — for what was intended to be a one-hour flight to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka — when it crashed into the sea. It is not yet confirmed what caused the crash, although a spokesperson for AirNav Indonesia said that the pilot had requested permission to turn back and to return to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The pilot did not indicate that there was an emergency, however, and the flight did not appear to have changed course prior to the crash.
Problems were reported with the jet on Sunday night, but engineers had allegedly fixed the issue and had cleared the plane for take-off on Monday. There were also many thunderstorms in the surrounding area, but none that were expected to occur directly along the planned flight path. Rescue teams are currently in search of passengers. Debris and life jackets have been discovered in the waters off of the coast of Java — along with personal items such a handbags, wallets, cell phones, and clothes. Underwater robots have found what officials believe to be the tail of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, but have yet to come across the main wreckage. They are searching with the belief that the plane has sunk, and are using equipment to try and detect the plane’s locator beacon.
Minutes after takeoff, a Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed into the sea close to Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. pic.twitter.com/hktRJ8EQqV
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 29, 2018
As of now, six bodies have been recovered and transferred to Police Hospital in Kramat Jati in east Jakarta. Lion Air is flying out family members to wait for news at the airport, with 76 family members on the way and 90 family members having already arrived. A crisis center will be open there for the next two weeks. 20 of the passengers were reportedly ministry officials returning to Pangkal Pinang. The plane also had three children aboard. Search efforts will proceed for at least seven days around the clock. Then, officials will determine if their efforts should last an additional three days.
“We are very concerned with this tragic event and will continue to coordinate with all related parties in order to receive confirmation on the whereabouts of our passengers and flight crew,” Lion Air said in a statement.
According to BBC, the operational director of the search and rescue team, Bambang Suryo, suspects that the outcome is grim.
“I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far,” Suryo said.