A passenger plane with 189 people on board has crashed into the sea off Indonesia’s island of Java, only minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta.
The Lion Air Boeing 737 lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground on Monday morning only 13 minutes after leaving the Soekarno Hatta international airport for Pangkal Pinang, the main city in the Bangka Belitung Islands, according to Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (SAR).
“The plane crashed into water about 30 to 40 meters deep,” a spokesman for the SAR, Yusuf Latif, told AFP.
Officials say 189 people were on board, up from an earlier report of 188. There were one child and two babies among the passengers, according to the officials.
“The plane had requested to return to base before finally disappearing from the radar,” he added in a statement.
Indonesian rescuers retrieved body parts near the site of the crash hours after the incident. Rescue workers are now looking for the main body of the plane after finding debris and aircraft parts floating on the surface of the Java Sea.
The head of the search and rescue agency, Muhmmad Syaugi, also told a news conference that they “don’t know yet whether there are any survivors.”
Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, however, said later that all the passengers and crew aboard the crashed jet were “likely” killed in the accident.
Boats, helicopters and 130 rescuers, including teams from three cities have been deployed to the vicinity of the crash site in the Java Sea, according to the SAR.
The SAR said the plane was at an altitude of 3,000 meters when it lost contact.
Indonesian officials said they had asked Australian air traffic controllers for assistance when they lost the plane, but they could not detect the aircraft either.
An official of Indonesia’s Safety Transport Committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash, and that they should wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes.
Officials, however, said it is unlikely that weather played a part in the crash.
“We will collect all data from the control tower,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono. “The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too. But the most important is the black box.”
The manufacturer of the plane, Boeing, tweeted that it was “aware” of the incident and “closely monitoring the situation.”
Indonesia – the world’s largest archipelagic country – relies heavily on air transport to connect over 13,000 of its islands.
Its aviation industry, however, has been grappling with serious safety issues, giving the Indonesian air transport system the reputation of the least safe in the world.
Since 2001, there have been at least 40 air accidents on Indonesian soil that resulted in fatalities, according to the website aviation-safety.net.
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.
In 2014, an AirAsia plane crashed, resulting in the loss of 162 lives.
Now that you are here
The Cameroon Concord News Group Board wishes to inform its faithful readers that for more than a decade, it has been providing world-class reports of the situation in Southern Cameroons. The Board has been priding itself on its reports which have helped the world to gain a greater understanding of the crisis playing out in Southern Cameroons. It hails its reporters who have also helped the readers to have a broader perspective of the political situation in Cameroon.
The Board wishes to thank its readers who have continued to trust Southern Cameroon’s leading news platform. It is therefore using this opportunity to state that its reporters are willing to provide more quality information to the readers. However, due to the changing global financial context, the Board is urging its readers to play a significant role in the financing of the news organization. It is therefore calling on its faithful readers to make whatever financial contribution they can to ensure they get the latest developments in their native Southern Cameroons, in particular, and Cameroon in general.
Bank transaction: Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Banking IBAN: GB51 BARC 2049 1103 9130 15
Swift BIC BARC GB22XX
SORT CODE 20-49-11, ACCOUNT NUMBER – 03913015 Barclay PLC, UK
The Board looks forward to hearing from the readers.
Signed by the Group Chairman on behalf of the Board of Directors
Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai