JAKARTA, Indonesia (CBS News/AP) — Indonesia’s Lion Air said it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra early Monday. A search and rescue agency that was launched for the Boeing 737-800 plane said Flight JT-610 has crashed into the sea, the Reuters news agency reports. There were 188 people on board, including passengers and crew.
“It has been confirmed that it has crashed,” Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the agency, said by text message, when asked about the fate of the Lion Air plane, according to Reuters. Latif said the plane had lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff.
The plane had departed Jakarta about 6:20 a.m. Monday for Pangkal Pinang. Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said “we can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet.”
At a news conference, officials said the plane had been carrying 178 adults, one child and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew, BBC News reports. Next of kin have gathered at Pangkal Pinang airport to get the latest updates, CBS News has learned.
The Associated Press reports the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cites the crew of a tug boat reporting a Lion Air flight falling from the sky. It said several vessels have headed to the location.
Flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted “preliminary data show an increase in speed and decrease in altitude at last transmission.” They posted an image of the flight track after takeoff, showing JT-610 looping south on take-off and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.
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.
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