Jakarta (Indonesia): The Indonesia passenger plane Flight JT610, which crashed 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta at 6.20 AM, had requested to return to base before disappearing from the radar, a media report said. The Lion Air aircraft, which was carrying 188 passengers, lost contact with the air traffic control at around 6:33 AM and crashed into Karawang Bay. It lost contact at 6.33 AM.

Confirming the reports of its crash, the rescue agency spokesperson Yusuf Latif said, “It has been confirmed that it has crashed.” The Indonesian authorities have mounted a search and rescue operation for the missing Lion Air plane, an official said. “Several pieces of Lion Air JT 610 aircraft that crashed in the waters of Karawang (was found),” Head of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted.

The budget airline’s aircraft was carrying 178 adult passengers, a child, two babies with two pilots and five flight attendants, Nugroho said, adding that the National Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, and the Ministry of Transportation were “handling” the situation. “Some ships tug boats were on location,” he added.

Lion Air airline has confirmed that the plane went off the radar on Monday morning and was last tracked crossing the sea. The aircraft was on the way from Indonesian capital Jakarta to the city of Pangkal Pinang. The aircraft, a Boeing-737 Max 8, has the capacity to carry 210 passengers.

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

With IANS inputs