- Lion Air flight JT-610 crashed off Indonesia shortly after take-off from Jakarta, bound for Pangkal Pinang
- 189 people were on board jet when it crashed north of the Indonesian city shortly after 6.30am local time
- Pictures from the scene showed plane debris and oil floating in the water hours after the aircraft came down
- Pilot had reported 'technical difficulties' and asked to return to the airport minutes after the plane took-off
- Jet, which went into service in August, had gone in for repairs ahead of the flight, the carrier acknowledged
- There have been more than 40 air accidents resulting in deaths in Indonesia since 2001 All 189 people on board a doomed jet that plunged 5,000ft into the sea off Indonesia are 'likely dead', rescuers say. Lion Air's flight JT-610 was heading to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of the capital, Jakarta, when it lost contact with air control about 6.33am local time - just 13 minutes after take-off.Shortly before the disaster, the plane's pilot, Indian national Bhavye Suneja, had reported 'technical difficulties' and, minutes after take-off, asked to return to the airport, an official said. Traffic control allowed the return, but the aircraft then vanished from radar.Authorities are not yet sure why the plane crashed - the weather was sunny, the aircraft was new and the pilots experienced.But this morning, Lion Air's president said the Boeing 737 MAX 8, which went into service just months ago, had gone in for repairs ahead of the flight.'It got repaired in Denpasar (in Bali) and then it was flown to Jakarta,' Edward Sirait told AFP. 'Engineers in Jakarta received notes and did another repair before it took off' on Monday. That's the normal procedure for any plane.'Websites that display flight data showed the plane speeding up as it suddenly lost altitude in the minutes before it disappeared.Photos show debris, including what appeared to be an emergency slide, and personal belongings picked up from the water's surface by ships that reached the crash area in the Java Sea. Separate images show heart-broken relatives waiting for news at Jakarta's Soekarno Hatta International airport and at the terminal in Pangkal Pinang.Scroll down for video
Rescuers said today that all 189 passenger and crew were 'likely' and that human remains had been found.
'My prediction is that nobody survived because the victims that we found, their bodies were no longer intact and it's been hours so it is likely 189 people have died,' agency operational director Bambang Suryo Aji told reporters.
Pilot Suneja, originally from New Delhi, had worked for Lion Air since March 2011 and had logged 11,000 flying hours.
After receiving friends and relatives who rushed to their New Delhi home upon hearing news of the crash, the parents of the pilot Suneja set off for the Indonesian capital.
'Please pray for us,' Suneja's sobbing mother said as she got into a car. A family friend, Anil Gupta, said Suneja's father was stunned and couldn't talk, and his sister and mother had not come out of their rooms.
The accident is the first to be reported involving the widely sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer's workhorse single-aisle jet.
Pictures and video shared online by the head of Indonesia's disaster relief agency show debris and oil floating on the water following the crash, of which there are, so far, no known survivors.
'It's correct that an RTB (return to base) was requested and had been approved but we're still trying to figure out the reason,' Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia's transport safety committee, told reporters, referring to the pilot's request.
Pope Francis conveyed his condolences to those affected today with The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, saying in a telegram to that the pontiff 'offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss'.
Relatives were pictured crying at the Pangpal Pinang airport as they awaited news on their loved ones and family members were also pictured arriving at the agency's headquarters in Jakarta.
Feni, who uses a single name, said her soon-to-be-married sister was on the flight, planning to meet relatives in Pangkal Pinang, a jumping off point for beach-and-sun seeking tourists on nearby Belitung island.
'We are here to find any information about my younger sister, her fiance, her in-law to be and a friend of them,' said Feni.
'We don't have any information,' she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes. 'No one provided us with any information that we need. 'We're confused. We hope our family is still alive,' she said.
On board were 178 adults, one child, two babies, two pilots and five flight attendants. There were also 20 staff from the Indonesian Ministry for Finance on board, and 23 government officials in total according to Reuters. AN Italian national was also among those on board.
Sony Setiawan has revealed he is lucky to be alive after traffic jams made him late for a flight that crashed in to the sea off Indonesia.He was due to be among the 189 people on board Lion Air flight JT 610 when it took off early from the capital Jakarta on Monday morning.
But he was held up on his commute to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and never boarded the Boeing-737.
The head of search and rescue agency Basarnas told reporters body parts had been seen floating in the ocean near the crash site.
'We don't know yet whether there are any survivors,' Syaugi told a news conference. 'We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.'
Indonesia's deadliest air crashes: How Lion Air disaster was the latest to rock Indonesia
The crash of a brand new Lion Air Boeing-737 MAX into the sea on Monday, just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, is the latest in a series of air accidents to rock the archipelago.
Indonesian relies heavily on air transport to connect its thousands of islands but has suffered a string of deadly plane crashes in recent years.
The aviation sector is expanding fast as the economy booms but there are concerns airlines are struggling to find enough well-trained personnel to keep up with the rapid growth. Once banned from European airspace over safety fears, the EU removed all Indonesian airlines from its safety blacklist in 2018 following improvements.
Here are the worst aviation disasters in the nation's history:
Northern Sumatra - The worst disaster in Indonesia's aviation history left 234 dead in 1997. An Airbus A-300B4 operated by national carrier Garuda Indonesia crashed in a smog-shrouded ravine in North Sumatra, just short of Medan's airport.
Java Sea - In 2014, an AirAsia plane plunged into the Java Sea during stormy weather, killing 162 people. The Malaysian airline was flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.
Medan disaster - A Mandala Airlines domestic flight crashed shortly after take-off in 2005 into a densely populated suburb in Medan, a city of two million on the island of Sumatra, killing at least 150 including passengers, crew and people on the ground.
Military families - In June 2015 an Indonesian military plane crashed shortly after takeoff, also coming down in a residential area in Medan, killing around 122 people on board, many of them servicemen and women and their families. Around 20 people were also killed on the ground and several housing blocks torn apart. The Armed Forces has been beleaguered by a string of fatal accidents in recent years.
Air Force fire - In 1991, an Air Force plane crashed in East Jakarta minutes after take off when an engine caught fire, killing 135 people according to reports. Those who died included 121 airmen, 12 crew and two people on the ground. One passenger survived.
River crash - In 1997, a Silk Air flight crashed into a river near the Indonesian city of Palembang while on its way to Singapore from Jakarta. All 104 passengers and crew were killed in what was investigated as a possible pilot murder-suicide.
New Year's Day crash - An Adam Air plane plunged into the sea off Sulawesi island on New Year's Day 2007, killing all 102 people on board. The airline was later banned from flying. Indonesian authorities said the pilots lost control after becoming preoccupied with malfunctioning navigational equipment.He later said body parts had been seen floating near Tanjung Karawang, where the plane is believed to have gone down, about 34 nautical miles north-west of Jakarta, but it was too soon to say how many had died.
About 150 people have joined the rescue mission, including 30 divers, as authorities search desperately for survivors.
The air tracking service FlightRadar 24 tracked the plane, showing it looping south on take-off and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.
A tug boat leaving Jakarta's port saw the plane falling into the water, which is reported to be about 30-35m deep.
The jet was a Boeing 737 MAX 8 which can carry as many as 210 passengers.
In a statement Boeing said it was 'deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610' and expressed sympathy for the loved ones of those on board.
A statement issued by Indonesia's search and rescue agency said the plane's Emergency Local Transmitter beacon did not emit a distress signal as it fell from the sky - despite it being tested and declared fully functional until August 2019.
'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.
He said the airline owned 11 of the 737 Max 8 models and that none had had any issues up until Monday.
He told reporters: 'This plane previously flew from Denpasar to Cengkareng (Jakarta). There was a report of a technical issue which had been resolved according to procedure.'
Preliminary flight tracking data from Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea.
It was last recorded at 3,650 feet (1,113 m) and its speed had risen to 345 knots, according to raw data captured by the respected tracking website, which could not immediately be confirmed.
Its last recorded position was about 9 miles north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24. It lost contact with air control at about 6.33am local time (10.33am AEDT, 11.33pm BST).
The accident is the first to be reported that involves the widely-sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer's workhorse single-aisle jet. The first Boeing 737 MAX jets were introduced into service in 2017.
Lion Air's Malaysian subsidiary, Malindo Air, received the very first global delivery.
Dr Soerjanto Tjahjono, who heads up Indonesia's national transportation safety committee, told reporters the doomed plane had only clocked about 800 flight hours since beginning service in August.
Meanwhile, Australia's foreign affairs ministry says Australian government officials and contractors 'have been instructed not to fly on Lion Air or their subsidiary airlines' following the crash. The statement posted on the ministry's website said the decision will be reviewed when the findings of the crash investigation are clear.
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.
Indonesia has a horror track record on air safety and only recently the European Union removed all Indonesia airlines from its aviation safety blacklist.
Three major Indonesia airlines, including Lion, were upgraded to the top safety tier in June after passing a key international audit.
There have been more than 40 air accidents resulting in deaths in Indonesia since 2001.
A rapid expansion of air travel in recent years has seen an explosion of low-cost airlines operating in the country
THE TROUBLED PAST OF LION AIR
The Lion Air passenger plane carrying 189 people when it crashed off the coast of Indonesia is the latest in a long list of incidents for the budget flight charter.
The low-cost airline has been involved in numerous crashes in recent years, AeroInside historical incident reports reveal.
In 2017, one of the company's Boeing jets collided with a Wings Air plane during a botched landing at Kualanamu airport on the island of Sumatra.
Nobody was injured in the collision.
In May of 2016, two Lion Air planes collided at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.
Only one month prior, a plane operated by Batik Air, which is a part of the Lion Group, clipped a TransNusa plane.
Three years earlier, in 2013, a Lion Air jet, piloted by a young, inexperienced rookie underestimated the runway while attempting to land the plane in Bali.
The plane, carrying 108 passengers crashed into the sea and subsequently split in two.
Several people were injured in the crash, but nobody was killed.
Several other documents confirm there have been multiple occasions involving miscalculation of runways, resulting in minor damage to the planes in 2012 and 2013.
At least 32 people were killed and another 61 injured when a Lion Air plane skidded off the runway in Central Java in 2014 after landing in bad weather.
Authorities are working to determine how many people were killed on the Lion Air flight that crashed into the sea north of Indonesia's capital Jakarta 13 minutes after take-off today.
The fates of the passengers are so far unknown, but relatives were seen crying as they awaited news on their loved ones, and body parts were seen floating in the sea nearby the crash site.
Lion Air's flight JT-610 was heading to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of Indonesia's capital.
The domestic flight lost contact with air traffic control at about 6.33am local time (10.33am AEDT, 11.33pm BST).
Indonesia's air travel industry is booming, but has a reputation of poor safety regulations and frequent incidents across the board.
The European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe in 2007 due to safety concerns. Lion Air was allowed to resume flights to Europe as of June 2016, and the ban on all other Indonesian airlines was lifted earlier this year.
It mirrors the reputation of Malaysian airlines, who have been tainted by the memory of missing MH370 and the shot down MH17.
On the 8th of March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared while flying from Malaysia to China, and was never located - nor were the passengers.
Only months later, in July of 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on its path from Amsterdam to Malaysia while flying over Ukraine.
All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board died.
Outside of Lion Air's troubling aviation history, accidents are still rife.
In August, a 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed all eight other people on board a private aircraft.
Three years prior, in August of 2015, 54 people were killed after a Trigana aircraft crashed in poor weather conditions.