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Indonesian plane carrying 188 crashes into ocean

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A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane with 188 people on board has crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Flight JT 610 was on a scheduled flight to Pangkal Pinang, the main town in the Bangka Belitung Islands.

It lost contact with ground control a few minutes after take-off, and was last tracked crossing the sea – it is unclear if there are any survivors.

At a news conference, officials said the plane had been carrying 178 adults, one infant and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew.

The plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a brand new type of aircraft,BBC reports

Flight JT 610 took off from Jakarta at 06:20 local time on Monday morning (23:30 GMT on Sunday). 13 minutes into the flight, authorities lost contact with the plane.

The pilot had earlier asked to return to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport, the head of Pangkal Pinang’s search and rescue office, Danang Priandoko, told local news outlet Kompas.

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