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Lion Air crash: Indonesian Aircraft goes down after Jakarta take-off

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A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane has come down after taking off from Jakarta, say Indonesian officials.

Flight JT-610 was on a scheduled flight from the Indonesian capital to Pangkal Pinang, the main city in the Bangka Belitung Islands.

It lost contact with ground control a few minutes after take-off, as it was crossing the sea.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the plane, a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the national search and rescue agency told reporters: "It has been confirmed that it has crashed."

Airline Chief executive Edward Sirait earlier told Reuters: "We cannot give any comment at this moment. We are trying to collect all the information and data."

Indonesian media quoted a port official at Tanjung Priok as saying a tugboat had reported seeing plane debris in the water.

Suyadi, who uses only one name like many Indonesians, said other vessels were making their way to the site.

Flight JT-610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday morning (23:30 GMT on Sunday). After a short flight, it was due to arrive in Pangkal Pinang an hour later.

The aircraft was reported to be a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a model only in use since 2016. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 said the aircraft had only been delivered to Lion Air in August.

Aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman told the BBC the MAX 8 had been experiencing problems since it was introduced, including problems maintaining a level flight.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is heavily reliant on air travel, but many of its airlines have a poor safety record.

Lion Air is a budget airline based in the country. In 2013, Lion Air flight 904 crashed into the sea on landing at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. All 108 people on board survived. In 2004, a Lion Air flight 538 from Jakarta crashed and broke up on landing at Solo City, killing 25 people.
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