Plane carrying 188 passengers crashes into sea

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Families of passengers on the plane have reportedly flocked to the airport at Pangkal Pinang, where the plane was supposed to land. It is unclear if there are survivors. 737 Max-8 model. Lion Air said it will cooperate with authorities in relation to this incident.

Items such as handphones and life vests were found in waters about 30 metres to 35 metres (98 to 115 ft) deep near where the plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, lost contact.

A search and rescue mission is ongoing, the transport ministry of Indonesia says wreckage and debris has already been found by rescuers.

Officials said the aircraft was carrying 189 passengers and crew - 178 adult passengers, two babies and one infant in addition to two pilots and six other aircraft crew. All 108 people on board survived.

According to the BBC, the plane's pilots had requested to return to the airport, the head of Pangkal Pinang's search and rescue office, Danang Priandoko, told local news outlet Kompas.

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A search and rescue agency that was launched for the Boeing 737-800 plane said Flight JT-610 has crashed into the sea, the Reuters news agency reports.

Budi suspected the downed Lion Air JT 610 was now submerged 30-35 meters under the Tanjung Karawang waters.

Three of those on board were trainee flight attendants and one was a technician. They routinely took this flight.

Following the crash, Australia's Smart Traveller website advised that Australian government officials and contractors have been instructed not to fly on Lion Air.

"It's true that Lion Air JT 610 has lost contact", AirNav Indonesia spokesperson Yohanes Harry Douglas said in a statement.

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"We are still confirming data on the names against the flight manifest", Nufransa said on Monday.

Lion Air's Malaysian subsidiary, Malindo Air, received the very first global delivery.

Lion Air is a privately owned airline dating from 1999, and is one of Asia's big budget airliners.

According to Indonesian media, TribunNews, the aircraft's final contact was at 06.33 WIB with Jakarta Air Traffic Control.

Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait said the plane reported a technical problem during its previous flight from Denpasar to Jakarta on Sunday night, but that was resolved before it took off on Monday morning.

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Indonesia is one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets, although its safety record is patchy.