Indonesia launches SAR for crashed Lion Air flight


JAKARTA – Indonesian authorities have launched an operation to search for a Lion Air domestic flight with 181 passengers and seven crew on board that crashed Monday in the Karawang waters north of Jakarta soon after taking off from here.

The search by the military and personnel from the National Search and Rescue Agency is focused in an area representing the coordinates 05 48.934 south and 107 07.384 east in the waters.

The aircraft, carrying 181 passengers comprising 178 adults, one child and two infants, and seven crew, went missing from radar minutes after departing the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 6.20 am (7.20 am in Malaysia), said Indonesian Civil Aviation director-general Pramintohadi Soekarno.

“The pilot, Bhavye Suneja, reportedly contacted the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport requesting to return but the control tower subsequently lost contact with the aircraft,” he said in a statement.

He said a crisis centre has been set up at Terminal 1B of the Soekarno-Hatta airport and another at the Pangkal Pinang Depati Amir airport to attend to the families of the passengers. 

Indonesia media reported that the families of the passengers have thronged the Pangkal Pinang Depati  Amir Airport for the latest information on the incident.

A spokesman of the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta said the mission was trying to obtain a copy of the manifest to determine whether Malaysians were on board the flight.