About 13 minutes after takeoff, Lion Air flight JT610 heading to Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia lost contact with air controllers. A spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue agency has said that a boat leaving a nearby port saw the aircraft falling from the sky.
A Lion Air plane crashed into the sea with 189 passengers and crew on board https://t.co/k5kcVJLvFD— TIME (@TIME) October 29, 2018
Everyone who was on the flight is presumed to be dead. As of 8:00 AM Eastern time, crews have recovered six bodies from the crash site along with personal items such as handbags, cell phones, clothing, and identification cards.
The plane involved in the crash was a Boeing 737 MAX 8. It was a new model that had only been in use for two months. According to Lion Air's CEO, the same plane reported a “technical issue” on Sunday night, but had been cleared to fly by Monday morning.
Luckiest man alive: Passenger missed doomed Lion Air flight due to traffic https://t.co/5XExCTVjeb— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) October 29, 2018
It has also been reported that shortly before the flight lost contact, the pilot requested a return to the airport. Officials say they will not speculate on what caused the crash until the black box is found.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 models that have only been in service for 18 months globally have boasted to be the “world’s most reliable airplanes”. Several carriers have added them to their fleet including American Airlines, United Airlines as well as Air Canada.
They have an air range of 6,570 km and are supposed to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent and cabin noise by 40 percent. They are among Boeing's 737 MAX series, which are the fastest selling planes in the company's history.
Air Canada currently has 18 737 MAX 8 models in their fleet. They are also expecting 43 more to be delivered by 2021. The model has been used for service to Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Montreal. It's also been used for international routes to Keflavik, Iceland as well as Dublin and Shannon, Ireland.
The crash in Indonesia is the first incident ever involving a 737 MAX model. Boeing has said their company stands ready to provide as much technical assistance as they can to investigate the accident.
Lion Air says they don't plan on grounding their other 737 MAX 8 models as of yet.