Breaking News: This article will be updated as more information comes in. Last updated: 6:32AM UTC
Breaking news out of Indonesia, a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 has crashed into the sea off Jakarta.
The jet, under the carrier Lion Air (JT610), was carrying 188 passengers and 7 crew. It is not known at this time if any survivors have been found.
Ground control lost track of the plane shortly after takeoff (6.20AM local time). The last contact was 13 minutes into the hour flight when the pilot requested to return to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport.
“The plane crashed into water about 30 to 40m deep, We’re still searching for the remains of the plane.” – Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Yusuf Latif told AFP news agency.
Floating debris have been found off the coast by authorities and the crew of a local oil rig. This has prompted the government to initiate search and rescue efforts. The following content might be a bit disturbing for some readers.
“The head of Indonesia’s disaster agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, has tweeted images which he said showed debris and personal belongings that came from the aircraft and had been found floating in the sea.” – BBC
The below video shows an oil slick and other items floating on the surface of the water.
As of right now, rescue teams and divers have arrived on the site of a large oil spill and will investigate.
This is quite shocking as this was a brand new 737 MAX 8, flown by a pilot with over 6,000 flight hours. Lion Air has admitted that this plane only started service in August this year.
They revealed that this particular plane had been experiencing issues, such as struggling to maintain flight level when at altitude.
We will update you as soon as we know more details about this Lion Flight.
Who is Lion Air?
Lion Air is a local carrier to Indonesia, who have been chased by controversy since being founded in 1999.
They have a fleet of 119 planes, only 10 of which are Boeing 737 MAX 8’s.
They were banned from flying to the European Union until 2016 because of their poor safety rating. In 2013, a plane crashed in Bali with 108 passengers on board. They all survived, fortunately. A flight in 2004 was not so lucky, crashing upon landing and killing 25 passengers.
Additionally, in 2011 and 2012, several pilots were caught with drugs (methamphetamines, street name Ice/Meth), one of which was supposed to fly in an hours time.
Our deepest condolences to the family of passengers and crew at this troubling time.