Indonesia Lion Air flight crashes with 189 aboard

20 May 2016 shows Lion Air planes parked at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Indonesia 04 November 2015

The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Greater Jakarta at 6.21 a.m. local time, and had been due to land at around 7:30 a.m.in Pangkal Pinan, the largest city on the Indonesian island of Bangka.

Lion Air CEO Edward Sirait told reporters that the plane experienced a "technical issue" on a previous flight Sunday night, but the problem had been "resolved according to procedure". "We have forwarded the information to search and rescue teams", AirNav Indonesia Spokesman Yohanes Harry Douglas had said in a statement earlier today. It had been operated by the Lion Air Group since August, and the airline said it was airworthy.

"We need to find the main wreckage", he added.

An Indonesian airliner carrying at least 188 passengers and crew crashed into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff from Jakarta.

Flight JT610 appears to mark the first deadly incident involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a single-aisle commercial jet that came into service in 2017.

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Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.

Lion Air is Indonesia's largest low-priced carrier, operating flights domestically as well as a number of worldwide routes in South East Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Malindo Air, a Malaysian subsidiary of Jakarta-based Lion Air, was the first airline to being using the 737 Max 8 a year ago.

Following the crash, Australia's Smart Traveller website advised that Australian government officials and contractors have been instructed not to fly on Lion Air.

Founded in 1999, Lion Air's only fatal accident was in 2004, when an MD-82 crashed upon landing at Solo City on Java, killing 25 of the 163 on board, the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network says.

The Lion Air, Flight JT610 had just left the Indonesian capital on the morning of Monday, October 29 at 6.20am.

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It was a standard commuter flight with 189 people - 181 passengers and eight crew members - on board.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines. Experts will be seeking to recover the plane's black boxes: the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder. The crashed aircraft had just 800 hours of flight time, the country's National Transportation Safety Committee said.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is heavily reliant on air travel, but many of its airlines have a poor safety record.

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.

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