Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX8, carrying 189 passengers and crew, crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The flight JT610 was reported missing 13 minutes after it took off at 6:20 a.m. (local time) en route to Pangkal Pinang, the capital of the Sumatran island of Bangka-Belitung. The connection with the aircraft was lost and the Air Traffic Control Service immediately reported to local authorities to organize a search and rescue operation.
Rescuers found debris from the Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX8 in the sea near the town of Karawang, located in West Java province. The crash claimed 189 lives, of which 181 were passengers and eight were crew
“We found lifejackets, mobile phones and debris from the plane”, said a spokesman pf the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency. “The fuselage is probably on the sea floor at a depth of about 35 meters”, added he.
The crew of the aircraft had asked to return to airport of Jakarta shortly before losing connection with the Indonesian Air Traffic Control Service. They allowed the plane to return, but then the contact was lost.
The root cause of the accident is under investigation. The aircraft Boeing 737 MAX8 is one of the newest airplanes in the fleet of Lion Air, delivered just a few months ago. National Transport Safety Committee chief Suryanto Cahyono says that since its delivery in August the aircraft has completed 800 flight hours.
The Boeing 737 MAX is an American narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG). The 737 MAX series is offered in four lengths, typically offering 138 to 230 seats and a 3,215 to 3,825 nmi (5,954 to 7,084 km) range. The 737 MAX 7, MAX 8, and MAX 9 replace, respectively, the 737-700, -800, and -900. The first variant developed in the 737 MAX series, the MAX 8 will replace the 737-800 with a longer fuselage than the MAX 7. Boeing plans to improve its range from 3,515 nmi (4,045 mi; 6,510 km) to 3,610 nmi (4,150 mi; 6,690 km) after 2021. On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8. The MAX 8 has a lighter empty weight and higher maximum takeoff weight than the A320neo and in cruise at 140,500 lb (63,700 kg), it burns 4,460 lb (2,020 kg) per hour at Mach 0.78 (450 kn; 833 km/h) and FL350, at a suboptimal flight level and forward center of mass.