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Indonesian plane crashes with 189 on board, no survivors expected

Oct. 29, 2018 4:40 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 2, 2018 10:59 A.M.)
JAKARTA (Ma'an) -- The Boeing 737, owned by the low-cost airline Lion Air, crashed into the sea, with 189 people on board, minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, on Monday.

The Lion Air flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. on Monday and was headed for the western city of Pangkal Pinang.

According to Basarnas, Indonesia's national search and rescue agency, the flight was carrying 189 people, including three children, six cabin crew members and two pilots, however, 13 minutes into the short flight, contact was lost.

So far, rescue teams have retrieved six bodies from the sea and personal items, including baby shoes, about 15 km off the coast.

The retrieved bodies have been taken to a hospital in east Jakarta.

The cause of the crash remained unclear.

The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, which is an updated version of the 737, was launched globally only last year. The specific plane had been in use for less than three months.

Bambang Suryo Aji, director of operations for Basarnas, stressed "We need to find the main wreckage. I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far."

Aji said that search and rescue teams have been working against high waves and strong currents, in an area spanning about 150 nautical miles. In addition, underwater robots were being used in the search effort.

Lion Air's chief executive, Edward Sirait, told reporters that the plane had suffered "a technical issue" on Sunday night, but engineers had cleared it to fly on Monday morning.

Sirait added "There was a report of a technical issue which had been resolved according to procedure," however, he did not elaborate on the specific issue.

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