Lion Air passenger missed doomed flight because he was stuck in traffic

Lion Air flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang goes missing 13 minutes after take-off search underway

Rescue officials said they had recovered some human remains from the crash site, about 15 km off the coast. At least a dozen ambulances were parked at a nearby beach.

An air transport official, Novie Riyanto, said the flight was cleared to return to Jakarta after the pilot made a "return to base" request two to three minutes after taking off. The plane came down about 10 minutes later in waters northeast of Jakarta.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said there were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots and six cabin crew on board flight JT 610.

He said he received a text from a coworker saying the plane had already boarded.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said there were 20 ministry officials on board, who were returning to their posts in Pangkal Pinang after spending the weekend with their families in Jakarta for a public holiday.

"We don't have any information", she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes. "We're confused. We hope that our family is still alive". "I usually arrive in Jakarta at 3 a.m., but this morning I arrived at the airport at 6:20 a.m. and I missed the flight".

The frogmen are searching in water up to 35 meters (114 feet) deep.

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The agency's chief, Muhammad Syaugi, told a news conference that divers are trying to locate the wreckage.

Indonesian search and rescue personnel prepare for a recovery mission after Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea, in Karawang, West Java on October 29, 2018.

The Indonesian meteorology agency noted that weather conditions for the flight were safe. It said the type of clouds associated with turbulence was not present and winds were weak.

The JT610 plane that crashed off Jakarta was a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, a new model that was launched globally past year. Two Indian carriers, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, have ordered 225 and up to 205, respectively, of this latest version of the popular Boeing 737 which has always been the mainstay of their fleets. The model, which the Chicago-based plane maker says offers better fuel savings, range and reliability over earlier versions, has gained customers in Asia where several dozen low-priced carriers have emerged over the last decade.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for Indonesia's disaster relief agency, published examples of misleading Twitter posts, including an image of a fuselage of a Lion Air plane lying in the sea. He didn't know specifics of the problem when asked in a TV interview.

Privately owned Lion Air said the aircraft had been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having accumulated 11,000 hours of flying time. "There was a report of a technical issue, which had been resolved according to procedure". "I did not know exactly but let it be investigated by the authorities".

The crash has shocked Indonesia.

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Indonesia on Tuesday stepped up its search for passengers of an airliner that plunged into the sea, deploying underwater beacons to trace the flight's black box recorders in a bid to uncover why an almost-new plane crashed minutes after takeoff.

Preliminary flight tracking data from Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling toward the sea.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June of this year.

Indonesia's air travel industry is booming, with the number of domestic passengers growing significantly over the past decade, but it has acquired a reputation for poor regulation and its airlines had once been banned from U.S. and European airspace.

Lion Air, a discount carrier, is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations.

The 737 Max 8 was leased from China Minsheng Investment Group Leasing Holdings Ltd., according to the official China News Service.

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