A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane with 188 people on board has crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Flight JT 610 was on a scheduled flight to Pangkal Pinang, the main town in the Bangka Belitung Islands.
According to reports, the flight lost contact with the ground 13 minutes after take-off. The jet was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, which can carry up to 200 passengers, according to air tracking service Flightradar 24.
The pilot had earlier asked to return to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport, the head of Pangkal Pinang’s search and rescue office, Danang Priandoko, told local news outlet Kompas.
A search and rescue effort has been launched for the plane, which departed Jakarta about 6.20 AM on Monday. It was scheduled to land at Pangkal Pinang at 7.20 AM.
Reports received at Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta indicated the remains of the plane had been spotted.
Wreckage had been found near where the plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhmmad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency.
Search and rescue operation currently being carried out.