Plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into sea

20 May 2016 shows Lion Air planes parked at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali Indonesia 04 November 2015

The Lion Air passenger flight travelling from Indonesia's capital Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang crashed into the sea minutes after taking off on Monday.

"The plane had requested to return to base before finally disappearing from the radar", Sindu Rahayu added in a statement.

Lion Air operates 11 737-8s, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network's fleet database.

Meant for short-haul travel, the single-aisle plane can fit a maximum of 210 passengers.

"We have forwarded the information to search and rescue teams". It sank in waters about 30 to 35 metres depth, north of the coast of Java island.

Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.

"We hope, we pray, but we can not confirm", He said, adding that no distress signal had been heard from the plane's emergency transmitter.

They suspected it to be the Lion Air flight floating near Tanjung Bungin in Karawang in West Java.

'The Australian Embassy in Jakarta is making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians were affected, ' they said.

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

Lion Air said the aircraft was commanded by Captain Bhavye Suneja, who had 6,000 flight hours, while the first officer, named only as Harvino, had 5,000 hours. The Emergency Local Transmitter beacon on the plane did not emit a distress signal.

Lion Air said the aircraft, on a 1-hour-and-10-minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members. The plane is believed to have been on the way from Indonesian capital Jakarta to the city of Pangkal Pinang. A 12-year-old boy was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed eight people in mountainous eastern Indonesia in August.

Established in 1999, it has had issues of safety and poor management in the past and was banned from flying into European airspace until 2016.

The rescue operation by disaster agency is still underway and the causality number is not yet known. on other hand, videos and photos of the damaged plane is going viral on social media sites.

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