Indonesia Lion Air flight crashes with 189 aboard

Indonesia Lion Air flight crashes with 189 aboard

Indonesia Lion Air flight crashes with 189 aboard

A recorded flight path on Flightradar24 reported the plane's altitude had quickly dropped to 3650 feet, from an earlier altitude of 5450, just before it disappeared over the ocean. Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country's air navigation authorities, told Reuters that air traffic control approved the request but then lost contact with the plane nearly immediately.

Lion Air was founded in 1999.

And relatives of passengers on-board the plane have gone to Soekarno Hatta International airport, near Jakarta, to wait for more information on their loved ones. The site where the plane crashed is within the Java sea.

"We have located the debris about 2 nautical miles [3.7 kilometers] south of where contact with the plane was lost", he said.

Lion Air, a low-priced carrier, has a spotty safety record, with a number of incidents over the years, including a crash landing at sea in April 2013 that remarkably resulted in no deaths or serious injuries. "The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected", a spokesperson said.

The transport ministry added debris was found off the coast of Jakarta, though further updates are pending.

"It has been confirmed that it has crashed", Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the agency, said.

Flight tracker websites report the aircraft had vanished from ground control displays soon after takeoff. The Emergency Local Transmitter beacon on the plane did not emit a distress signal.

According to the officials, the plane was carrying 178 adults, 1 infant and 2 babies, apart from two pilots and five members of cabin crew.

Indonesian TV showed dozens of people waiting anxiously outside the Pangkal Pinang airport and officials bringing out plastic chairs.

Of the 188 on board, two were pilots and six were flight attendants, the National Transportation Safety Commission said in a statement cited by the Jakarta Post.

The crash is the latest major aviation disaster in the region following the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in 2014 and AirAsia's first ever plane crash, Flight QZ 8501, in December the same year.

Established in 1999, it has had issues of safety and poor management in the past and was banned from flying into European airspace until 2016.

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