UPDATE 2:10pm: Indonesian transport ministry officials have confirmed the plane was carrying 188 people, including crew members.

EARLIER: Officials in Indonesia have confirmed that a Lion Air passenger jet has crashed into the Java Sea after disappearing from radar shortly after take-off.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with Lion Air flight JT610, which was scheduled to travel from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang, around 13 minutes after it took off at approximately 6:21am local time (or around 10:21am AEDT). The flight was scheduled to land at 7:20am local time.

Flight data recorded by FlightRadar shows that the flight appears to have lost a significant amount of altitude in a very short amount of time before data from the plane stopped transmitting.

The plane is said to have been a near-new Boeing 737 MAX 8, which has a passenger capacity of around 200 people. The 188 on-board is said to have consisted of 178 adult passengers, 3 children, and 7 crew members.

Edward Sirait, chief executive of the Lion Air Group, asserted that “We cannot give any comment at this moment” and that the carrier was
trying to collect all the information and data” at this time.

Search and rescue units were deployed shortly after authorities lost communication with the plane, with a tugboat in the region reporting debris in the water. Authorities then moved quickly to confirm that the flight had, indeed, crashed into the sea.

This particular model of Boeing has only been in global operation since 2016.

Authorities have not yet issued comment on any potential casualties.

More as this story develops.

Source: The Guardian
Image: AAP