A Boeing 737-MAX 8 operated by Lion Air has crashed. Flight JT 610 took off at 7:20am local time from Jakarta. It was scheduled to arrive in Pangkal Pinang just an hour and twenty minutes later.
The aircraft lost contact with controllers just 13 minutes after departure. FlightRadar shows that the aircraft last reported its position over the Java Sea, about 40 miles from the coast of Java. While ADSB data on the web can sometimes prove inaccurate, the flight speed and altitude profile looked slight unusual. The 737 flew much of its departure at over 300 knots and only reached a max of 5,400 feet MSL. On initial departure, the aircraft climbed to 2,000 feet, then descended back down to 1,400 feet before beginning a shallow climb at over 300 knots. The final ADSB return from FlightRadar24 shows a steep drop in altitude before the aircraft ceased reporting. There were 178 passengers onboard the aircraft.
Pesawat Lion Air rute Jakarta – Pangkal Pinang dengan no. penerbangan JT 610 mengalami lost contact pada pukul 06:33. Telah dikonfirmasi bahwa pesawat tersebut jatuh di laut sekitar Karawang#LionAir #JT610 #LostContact pic.twitter.com/36zea1ILDR
— Muhammad Fiqri Ashari (@06_Fiqri) October 29, 2018
CNN is quoting the Indonesian Transport Minister who said that they pilots requested a return to base shortly after departure.
#breaking 178 adults, 1 child, 2 infants, 2 cockpit personnel and 6 flight attendants on crashed Lion Air #JT610. Indonesian Transport Min. says the Boeing 737-8 Max “requested a return to base before finally disappearing from the radar” on flight from Tangerang to Pangkal Pinang
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) October 29, 2018
There is no word on the condition of those aboard yet but video posted by Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Head of BNPB Information and Public Relations Center, shows that the likelihood of survival from the debris profile is slim. Additional photos show personal effects recovered from the Java Sea.
Serpihan pesawat Lion Air JT 610 yang jatuh di perairan Karawang. Beberapa kapal tug boad membantu menangani evakuasi. Video diambil petugas tug boad yang ada di perairan Karawang. pic.twitter.com/4GhKcRYkpG
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 29, 2018
— Didit P (@didiet_hp) October 29, 2018
Indonesian-based Lion Air has had a troubled safety record and was even banned from the EU for a while due to significant safety concerns. In addition to a number of incidents, this would be their 5th major accident in less than 19 years of operations. This particular 737-8MAX was only two months old.
This is also the first major accident of a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Boeing’s latest 737 MAX family offers more efficient LEAP-1B engines, along with upgraded winglets, minor aerodynamic improvements, and a fly-by-wire spoiler system. The first 737 MAX 8 aircraft was delivered in 2016.
This is breaking news. We’ll post updates in the story as we receive them.