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189 believed to be dead after plane crash in the sea near Indonesia

Members of a rescue team collect personal items and wreckage on Monday at the port in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, after they were recovered from the sea where Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed off the north coast. The Indonesian Lion Air plane was carrying 189 passengers and crew crashed into the sea, officials said, moments after it had asked to be allowed to return to Jakarta. (RESMI MALAU/AFP/Getty Images)

A Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed off the coast of Indonesia Monday, CNN reported. So far no survivors have been found, and all aboard are feared dead.

What happened?

Lion Air flight JT 610 was flying from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang. The flight, which was carrying 181 passengers, six crew members, and two pilots, was supposed to take only an hour.

Soon after the plane took off, the pilot asked to return to Jakarta. Thirteen minutes after takeoff, when the plane was just off the coast of the island of Java, it crashed into the ocean.

Bambang Suryo, operational director of the search and rescue agency, told the BBC that while rescuers still needed to locate the main wreckage from the plane, “I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far.”

While Lion Air flies from Indonesia to Australia, South East Asia and the Middle East, it and all other Indonesian airlines have been banned from entering European Union airspace because of its bad safety record.

According to the BBC, several Lion Air pilots were found with  methamphetamines. The pilots in the plane that crashed on Monday had passed their mandatory drug screening.

After this latest incident, Australia has asked government officials and contractors to avoid using this airline. Twenty officials from Indonesia's finance ministry were on board flight JT 610.

What about the plane?

The plane was a new Boeing 737 MAX 8 that had been added to the Lion Air fleet in August. The president of Lion Air said on Monday that the doomed plane had an issue on the flight just prior to this one, but that this issue had apparently been resolved. He did not specify what that issue was, or if it could be related in any way to the crash.

Indonesian authorities are still looking for the plane's black box, which reportedly is not transmitting.

One last thing…
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