A Lion Air plane crashed into the Java Sea on Monday, likely killing all 189 people aboard.
Flight 610 took off from Jakarta at 6:21 a.m. local time and was heading to Pangkal Pinang when, just minutes into the Indonesian flight, it asked to turn around, The New York Times reported.
“Then we lost contact,” Indonesian air navigation spokesman Yohanes Sirait said, according to the newspaper. “It was very quick, maybe around one minute.”
The plane was transporting three children and at least 20 employees of Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance, among the passengers. Captain Bhavye Suneja had flown for 6,000 hours, while copilot Harvino had flown for 5,000, Lion Air said in a statement, according to CNN.
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In another statement shared on Lion Air’s website, the airline revealed that “90 people from the affected families have been flown to Jakarta from various states with accommodations provided in Hotel Ibis Cawang, East Jakarta. The information center has been set up at the same hotel as well to ease the hassle of traveling to the post in Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport. 76 more family members are anticipated to arrive tonight.”
“The airline is very concerned with the incident and will continue to render their cooperation to all parties concerned in providing firsthand information with relates [sic] to the status of affected passengers and crew,” the statement continued. “It is with the hope that the families of the passengers and crew will have the strength and fortitude to go through this challenging time while the Search and Rescue (SAR) officers’ operations will go smoothly.”
“I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far,” said Bambang Suryo, the operational director of a search and rescue agency, according to Reuters.
Officials are searching 150 nautical miles and are utilizing underwater robots in the effort, CNN reported. Six bodies were recovered from the water and were sent to a hospital in east Jakarta.
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The plane’s tail, a cell phone and life vests were also located. “We have found pieces of fuselage and passengers’ property, such as I.D. cards,” said Agus Haryono, a search and rescue operations official, according to The New York Times. “There is a lot of debris.”
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The airline’s CEO Edward Sirait reportedly told TV1 that the plane had encountered a problem on a flight from Denpasar to Jakarta the night before the crash. He said that engineers had addressed the problem before the plane had taken off again.
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