Jakarta: A Lion Air plane that was almost brand new, at two-months-old crashed into the sea after departing from Jakarta. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was carrying about 188 people, according to the BBC. A press statement suggested that the passengers included two babies and an infant. The Guardian reported that the "Lion Air flight JT610 was travelling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka in Indonesia." It lost contact after just 13-minutes of flight time.

Jakarta airport got a request to return

BBC notes that before the plane lost contact, the pilots requested to return to Jakarta.

However, it never made it back, and later, debris seen floating on the water included wallets, aircraft seats, and handbags. The plane apparently crashed in shallow water with a depth of about 30 meters (98ft). Reuters noted that the crash happened shortly after the 6.20am take off. The pilots between them had over 11k hours flying experience. So far, there's no indication of any passengers being found.

Vessels in the area include a tug that reported the debris. Additionally, workers on an offshore oil refinery saw the debris. Search and rescue operations are underway. Apart from that, it's a priority to recover the black box to establish what went wrong with the plane. Soerjanto Tjahjono, of the Safety Transport Committee, said that the black box is very important.

However, modern planes like this can transmit data to the ground and “We will collect all data from the control tower.”

Boeing 737 MAX 8 had a technical problem previously

SBS News reported that the plane previously had a technical issue.

It had flown from Denpasar to Cengkareng (Jakarta). Lion Air's chief executive Edward Sirait said that "There was a report of a technical issue which had been resolved according to procedure." However, he did not elaborate on what the problem was. Additionally, he declared that none of the other 737 Max 8 planes in their fleet had the same problem.

Therefore, they are not pulling those planes from flights.

It's possible this influenced the decision by Australia. They advised that "government officials and contractors have now been instructed not to fly on Lion Air," according to the Guardian. Lion Air had some previous issues with aircraft and this is not the first time one of their planes crashed in the ocean. In 2013 a Lion Air jet "undershot the runway and crashed into the sea in Bali," SBS noted.

Passengers on the Boeing

The total number of passengers on the Boeing are not exact, due to conflicting reports.

However, BBC notes that "20 employees from Indonesia's finance ministry were on board." Relatives are desperate for any information about the flight. There is slim hope for the survivors. Incidentally, the emergency transmitter never sent out a signal. In total, it's believed the number of passengers were about 188 people including the crew.