The family of an Indonesian man killed in a Lion Air jet crash is suing Boeing, alleging that the accident may have been caused by a problem with the flight-control system in its newest 737 plane.
The father of Rio Nanda Pratama filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the US state of Illinois, where the plane manufacturer is headquartered, over the death of the young doctor who was to have married his high-school sweetheart this week.
Pratama's fiance Intan Syari, 26, has made headlines after she posed alone for photos in a wedding gown that she was to have worn at the couple's nuptials in Indonesia.
Syari said her husband-to-be had asked in jest that she carry on with the photo shoot if he did not return from what turned out to be a fatal trip.
The 26-year-old man was among the 189 people killed when the Boeing 737-MAX plunged into the Java Sea on October 29, less than 20 minutes after leaving Jakarta on a routine flight to Pangkal Pinang city. There were no survivors.
The 737-MAX in question had only begun service for budget carrier Lion Air in August.
Questions have swirled about Boeing's alleged failure to tell airlines and pilots about changes to an anti-stall system that is being investigated for its possible links to the crash.
The jet's engines are heavier than those installed on prior versions, meaning the plane can stall under different conditions.
Boeing made modifications to the anti-stall system without informing air carriers and their crews, according to the Allied Pilots Association.
"The government investigators typically will not make a determination of who is at fault, and just compensation to these families will not be provided by the governmental investigations," Curtis Miner from US-based firm Colson Hicks Eidson, which filed the lawsuit, said in a statement.
"That is the critical role of private lawsuits in a tragedy like this."
There is still no answer to what caused one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes to crash. A preliminary report is expected at the end of the month.
Pratama's family could not be immediately reached.
Lion Air Jet crew was not trained for crash protocol
Indonesian investigators said on Monday more training was needed for Boeing 737 MAX pilots after discovering the situation believed to have faced the crew of a doomed Lion Air jet was not contained in the aircraft’s flight manual.
U.S. pilots were also not aware of potential risks, two U.S. pilot unions told Reuters.
The comments shed further light on the areas under scrutiny as investigators prepare to publish their preliminary report on Nov. 28 or 29, one month after the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX dived into the Java Sea, killing all 189 on board.
Until now, public attention has focused mainly on potential maintenance problems including a faulty sensor for the ‘angle of attack’, a vital piece of data needed to help the aircraft fly at the right angle to the currents of air and prevent a stall.
Now the investigation’s focus appears to be expanding to the clarity of U.S.-approved procedures to help pilots prevent the 737 MAX over-reacting to such a data loss, and methods for training them.
Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain and spokesman for Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines Group Inc pilots, said his union was informed after the crash about a new system Boeing had installed on 737 MAX jets that could command the plane’s nose down in certain situations to prevent a stall.
“It is information that we were not privy to in training or in any other manuals or materials,” he said.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transportation safety committee of crash investigators (KNKT), said on Monday that Indonesian regulators would tighten training requirements as a result of the findings of the investigation so far.
“We know, because this incident happened, we know we need additional training,” he said.
The comments focus attention on the contents of aircraft manuals and a conversion course allowing pilots of the previous generation of Boeing jet, the 737NG, to upgrade to the MAX.
The manual had not covered how to handle a situation like the one that occurred in the crash, Soerjanto told reporters.
Lion Air officials said on Monday that they had followed a training regime approved by both U.S. and European regulators.
The approved training was restricted to three hours of computer-based training and a familiarisation flight, Lion Air Training Centre general manager Dibyo Soesilo said during a media tour of the center on Monday.
Information recovered from the jet’s flight data recorder last week led the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an emergency airworthiness directive urging airlines to update their flight manuals.
The directive warned pilots that a computer on the Boeing 737 MAX could lead to the plane being forced to descend sharply for up to 10 seconds even in manual flight, leading to potential difficulties in controlling the plane.
Pilots could stop this automated response by pressing two buttons if the system behaved unexpectedly, but questions have been raised about how well prepared they were for such an automatic reaction and how much time they had to respond.
An American Airlines spokesman said the carrier had received the FAA directive as well as a bulletin from Boeing on updating the flight crew operations manual.
Boeing declined to comment directly on its training program but said it was taking “every measure” to fully understand all aspects of the incident and working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved.
Last week it said the fix for this type of event - known as a ‘runaway stabilizer’ - was covered by existing procedures.
Even though this problem was - according to investigators - not covered in the operating manual, pilots did have access to a checklist designed to turn off errant systems when the plane started nosing downwards at the wrong time, said Soejono, a Lion Air instructor who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Experts say investigators will be examining whether the crew examined this checklist and if so whether they had time to cut off the automated nose-down system while flying at a relatively low altitude of 5,000 feet.
Pilots on a previous flight are reported to have overcome a similar sensor problem.
To answer that question fully, investigators may need access to cockpit voice recordings thought to be hidden in the seabed.
A search for the jet’s missing cockpit voice recorder is continuing and could provide important information about human factors relating to the crash, Soerjanto said.
The FAA said in a statement that it would take further action if that was warranted by findings from the accident investigation.
Indonesia stops search for victims of Lion Air crash
Indonesia authorities said on Saturday they had stopped the search for victims of a plane crash that killed all 189 people on board, but would keep looking for the Lion Air flight’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
“There is nowhere left to search and we have stopped finding victims’ bodies,” Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) told media.
“We will limit our operations to monitoring.”
The nearly new Boeing Co. 737 MAX passenger plane crashed into the sea on Oct. 29 just minutes after taking off from Jakarta en route to Bangka island near Sumatra.
Syaugi said 196 body bags containing human remains had been retrieved and 77 victims identified after forensic examination.
Authorities have downloaded data from one of the black boxes found last week, the flight data recorder, but are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder.
Soearjanto Tjahjono, the head of the transportation safety committee , said finding the voice recorder would be critical to understanding the cause of the crash.
“From the black box data, we know about 70-80 percent of what happened but to 100-percent understand the cause of the accident... we need be able to know the conversation that took place in the plane’s cockpit,” he said, declining to elaborate on what the flight data recorder had revealed.
Authorities have also brought in a pinger locator and a vessel capable of sucking up mud to help with the search for the voice recorder, in addition to remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with cameras.
Tjahjono said he was worried the cockpit voice recorder may have been damaged on impact because no “ping” sounds were detected that would indicate its location, as had happened with the first black box.
He said authorities were searching for 15 aircraft parts, including an “angle of attack” sensor on the aircraft, which helps the plane’s computers understand if the aircraft is stable.
Investigators have said one of these sensors had provided erroneous data.
Indonesia extends search for bodies from Lion Air crash
Indonesia will extend by three days its search for the bodies of passengers from the ill-fated Lion Air plane, an official said Wednesday, as authorities struggle to identify victims of the crash.
The Lion Air plane was en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city on Sumatra island ten days ago when it plunged into the water, killing all 189 people onboard.
Search teams have filled some 186 body bags with remains found after the devastating crash, but only 44 victims have been identified so far, Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the national search and rescue agency said at a press conference.
The navy, police and volunteers that have also been involved in the search will be stood down, he added.
Hundreds of mourners aboard a pair of Indonesian navy vessels tossed bouquets and scattered flower petals into the Java Sea on Tuesday, near the spot where the brand new jet crashed.
Divers have retrieved the plane's engines, wheels and one of its two black boxes - the flight data recorder - but are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder.
A preliminary report on the cause of the accident is expected at the end of the month.
The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee said Monday that flight recorder data has so far revealed the plane's air speed indicator had not been working properly on its last four journeys, including on the fatal flight.
The JT610 flight sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar just minutes after take-off.
Relatives of Lion Air victims pray, cast flowers into sea
Relatives of Lion Air crash victims prayed and threw flowers into the Java Sea where the jet plunged into the water more than a week ago, killing all 189 people on board.
Two Indonesian navy vessels took hundreds of relatives to the crash location on Tuesday where a massive search effort is still underway.
Many wept when they saw search personnel working. Officials from the navy and search and rescue agency and Lion Air employees threw wreaths into the sea.
Investigators on Monday said the brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane had a malfunctioning airspeed indicator on its last four flights including its fatal Oct. 29 flight, based on an analysis of its flight data recorder.
Lion Air said after the crash that a technical problem with its previous flight was fixed.
Searchers are still hunting for the cockpit voice recorder.
Santun, who uses a single name, said visiting the location helped him accept what had happened to his daughter, Putri Yuniarsih.
“Up until now I believed that my daughter would be found safely but if God decided differently and my daughter is found dead or not even found then as a father I would sincerely accept it,” he said.
The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.
Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.
Indonesia jet had damaged airspeed indicator on last four flights
Indonesian accident investigators said an airspeed indicator of a Boeing Co 737 MAX plane that crashed last week was damaged for its last four flights, but U.S. authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.
The damage on a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea, killing all 189 aboard, was revealed after data had been downloaded from the plane's flight data recorder, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters on Monday.
His agency was asking Boeing and U.S. authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world, he added.
"We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator," he said, referring to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
The acting administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Dan Elwell, said the FAA and NTSB had teams of experts in Indonesia at the government's request.
"Any action the FAA would take regarding that incident would have to wait until we have findings, until we have information," Elwell said in Washington.
Indonesia has not formally requested fleet-wide checks on 737 MAX jets and none are planned pending more data, a person familiar with matter said, on condition of anonymity.
Investigators have not disclosed any reports of other airspeed failures on the aircraft.
The FAA, which regulates the U.S. aviation industry, has not received any reports of airspeed issues with the model in the United States, said a person familiar with its reviews, who asked not to be named as he was not authorised to speak.
It was not immediately clear whether the problem with the crashed jet stemmed from a mechanical or maintenance issue.
"We don't know yet where the problem lies, what repair has been done, what their reference books are, what components have been removed," said Nurcahyo Utomo, the KNKT sub-committee head for air accidents.
"These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed."
Safety experts say it is too early to determine the cause of the crash on Monday last week of the flight from Jakarta to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
Authorities have yet to recover the jet's cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes into its flight.
Boeing declined to comment. The U.S. manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally, its website shows, with 4,564 orders for jets yet to be delivered.
The Boeing 737 MAX is a more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer's popular single-aisle jet.
The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service last year.
Tearful relatives of Indonesia jet crash victims demand answers
Relatives of the victims of an Indonesian jet that crashed into the sea off Jakarta last week killing all 189 on board demanded answers on Monday as to why the plane had been passed fit to fly and called for no let up in the search for loved ones.
Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended by three days the search for victims and a second black box recorder from wreckage of a nearly new Boeing Co. (BA.N) 737 MAX that slammed into the sea a week ago only minutes after it took off from Jakarta.
At a news conference charged with emotion, relatives addressed questions to Indonesian officials including transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi and the head of the country’s transportation safety committee (KNKT).
“We are the victims here. Imagine if you were in our position,” said Najib Fuquoni, a relative of a victim, demanding an independent investigation into the crash.
Muhammad Bambang Sukandar, the father of another victim, said Lion Air technicians needed to take “full responsibility” if it was proved they had not properly attended to technical issues following the jet’s previous flight from Bali to Jakarta.
“This is not an unimportant thing. These are people’s lives,” he said, as he sought to choke back tears.
“Don’t let something like this keep happening in Indonesia,” he added.
Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record has been patchy.
Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.
At one stage during Monday’s news conference, relatives urged Lion Air founder Rusdi Kirana, who was in the audience, to stand up. He stood up, but did not comment and clasped his hands together as if seeking forgiveness.
The privately owned budget carrier was founded in 1999. Its aircraft have been involved in at least 15 safety incidents and it has been placed under tougher international safety restrictions than other Indonesian airlines.
While victims’ relatives are desperate to know what happened, the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry.
“As an initial step we conducted ramp checks for 11 Boeing 737 Max 8,” said transport minister Sumadi, adding that authorities were also conducting a special audit to include operating procedures and crew qualifications.
The search effort has involved 151 divers, five helicopters, 61 ships, ranging from fishing boats to ships with advanced sonar scanners, as well as underwater drones.
The conlusions of this search included that there were no signs of an explosion in the air, and that the plane appeared to have hit the water with huge force that released extraordianry energy.
Indonesia extends search for victims, second black box from crashed jet
Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended by three days the search for the victims and a black box from the wreckage of a passenger jet that crashed last week, killing all 189 people on board.
“We decided to extend it three days” beginning on Monday, search and rescue agency (Basarnas) chief Muhammad Syaugi said at a news conference.
The decision was based on an evaluation and observations of the crash site, he told reporters, noting that many victims’ remains had not been recovered.
As of Sunday a total of 105 body bags, few containing intact remains, had been recovered and handed to police for forensic identification, yet only seven victims had been identified.
“I’m sure the total will increase,” Syaugi said.
The agency is prioritizing recovering human remains and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), the second black box from the wrecked near-new Boeing Co. 737 MAX that smashed into the sea early on Monday, 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta.
Divers have been honing in on ping signals in their search for the second box, as investigators try to get data from a partly damaged flight data recorder recovered on Thursday.
“The signal picked up by the ping locator has been followed by reliable divers,” Syaugi said, “but they haven’t found (it) yet.”
The device is thought to be around 50 meters from the main search area, where the water is only 30 m (98 ft) deep, but ocean currents and mud on the sea bed that is more than one-meter deep have complicated search efforts, Syaugi said.
The pilot of flight JT610 had asked for, and received, permission to turn back to Jakarta, but what went wrong remains a mystery.
While victims’ relatives are desperate to know what happened, the investigation of the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry. Preliminary investigation findings are expected to be made public after 30 days.
Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets but its safety record has been patchy. Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.
Diver dies in search for Indonesia jet crash dead
An Indonesian diver died while recovering body parts from the ill-fated Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea killing 189 people, an official said Saturday.
Syachrul Anto, 48, who died on Friday, was part of the team searching for body parts and debris from the jet in the Java Sea.
"He was a volunteer with the Search and Rescue Agency," Isswarto, commander of the Indonesian navy's search and rescue division, told AFP.
It is believed he died from decompression, he added.
Anto had previously served in Palu which suffered from an earthquake and tsunami in September and also took part in the evacuation process of an Air Asia plane crash nearly four years ago.
The Lion Air plane which plummeted Monday was on route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city on Sumatra island.
It plunged into the water just minutes after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
Officials on Thursday retrieved the Flight Data Recorder, but are still searching for the second black box, the Cockpit Voice Recorder, which could answer the question as to why the brand new Boeing-737 MAX 8 crashed.
The budget carrier's admission that the doomed jet had a technical issue on a previous flight - as well its abrupt fatal dive - have raised questions about whether it had mechanical faults specific to the new model.
At least 73 bags containing body parts have been retrieved from the waters so far but only four have been identified.
Founded in 1999, Lion Air is a budget airline operating in Indonesia and in some parts of Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
But it has been plagued by safety concerns and customer complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service.
Search teams recover seats, wheels from Indonesia jet crash site
Seats, wheels and other parts of a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were hauled from the depths Friday, as authorities analysed black box data that may explain why the new plane plummeted into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.
Search teams have been scouring the seabed for the fuselage of the Boeing-737 MAX 8, which plunged into the waters off Indonesia's northern coast shortly after takeoff Monday despite only having been in service a few months.
"Today we will start diving (again) at the spot where we think the plane crashed," said Isswarto, commander of the Indonesian navy's search-and-rescue division.
"There is a lot of little debris, plane wheels, and seats - all totally destroyed and in pieces."
Divers were searching an area about 25-35 metres deep, but have been finding fewer body parts than earlier in the week, he added.
"They're scattered everywhere and some may have been washed away by the current."
Dozens of body bags containing remains have been recovered from the crash site so far.
Television images showed divers tying ropes to twisted plane parts scattered along the seafloor.
On Thursday, authorities said they had recovered one of the plane's black boxes, which airlines are required to install in jets, as well as parts of its landing gear.
The black box could offer investigators their best chance of discovering why such a new jet crashed. The devices help explain nearly 90 percent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.
The devices record information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane as well as flight crew conversations.
Chilling phone video shows passengers boarding fatal flight
Like untold numbers of spontaneously shot smartphone videos, Paul Ferdinand Ayorbaba’s most recent was not a work of art, full of the backs of heads and the constant bobbing and disorientating pans and zooms that are a signature of mass digital culture.
But its mundane details have been transformed by tragedy into something deeply chilling — the last images of some of the 189 people who perished in terrifying circumstances little more than an hour after the video was shot.
Just minutes after takeoff, their Lion Air flight plunged into the Java Sea, tearing apart the plane and the people in it.
Ayorbaba traveled frequently within Indonesia on business and the boarding video was perhaps meant to comfort his wife, Inchy Ayorbaba, who felt a little anxious about the trip to an outlying island he’d never visited.
“It was his last contact with me, his last message to me,” she said in an interview with Indonesian TV at a police hospital where she’d taken their three children for DNA tests to help with victim identification.
The images in the short video are familiar not just to the millions who have passed through the Indonesian capital’s well-worn domestic terminal, but to anyone who has taken a flight.
At the beginning, there’s a semi-orderly queue of people showing their boarding passes to a waiting attendant.
Suddenly it dives into an extreme close-up of the pass in Ayorbaba’s hand, showing his name and the flight number, JT-610.
Next, a jerky view of a bright wide concourse and the backs of people walking ahead, pulling their wheeled carry-on bags.
Then a sudden swerve into a narrower passage from where the tarmac and waiting planes are visible between slats.
Ayorbaba zooms to a waiting plane that’s operated by a Lion Air subsidiary, pans to a red and white Lion Air jet that is possibly his flight, and then back to the boarding stairs attached to the first plane.
About 35 minutes before takeoff, Ayorbaba uploaded the video to his wife using the instant messaging app WhatsApp, a timestamp shows, she said.
She first saw the message when she woke up at 6:30 a.m. but didn’t take in the video’s details and went back to sleep. Within a minute of that moment, the plane began a rapid dive that ended in the sea northeast of Jakarta.
It was about 9 a.m. when Ayorbaba heard news of a Lion Air plane that crashed en route to Pangkal Pinang in the Bangka Belitung island chain.
“I went back to watching the video,” she said. “I saw his boarding pass he showed in the video. I started to believe he was in that crashed plane,” she said. “I kept calling him, sending WhatsApp messages, hoping that he didn’t go, or something made him cancel his trip but there was no answer.”
Black box from crashed Indonesian jet retrieved
Indonesian divers have retrieved a black box from a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea this week with 189 aboard and brought it back to a ship on the surface, one of the divers told media on Thursday.
“We dug and we got the black box,” from among debris in the mud on the sea floor, the diver, identified as Hendra, told broadcaster Metro TV on board the Baruna Jaya vessel.
The black box was orange in color and intact, he said, without specifying if the item was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.
Indonesian divers have retrieved a black box from a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea this week with 189 aboard and brought it back to a ship on the surface, one of the divers told media on Thursday.
The black box could provide clues to what happened after the still new plane lost contact with ground staff just 13 minutes after taking off early on Monday from Jakarta, on its way to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
There were no survivors.
"We dug and we got the black box," from among debris in the mud on the sea floor, the diver, identified as Hendra, told broadcaster Metro TV on board a search vessel, the Baruna Jaya.
It was orange in colour and intact, he said, without saying whether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, which are both usually referred to as black boxes.
Only "small pieces" of the aircraft had been found, the diver said, adding that the search had gradually closed in on the black box.
Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue agency, stopped short of confirming that a black box had been found, but confirmed the finding of "an orange object".
The plane's black boxes should help explain why the almost-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet went down in waters about 35 metres (115 ft) deep just off Jakarta, the capital.
A "ping" sound believed to be emitted by one of the black boxes had been getting clearer, Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of the national transport safety panel, told Reuters earlier on Thursday.
An underwater drone had detected an object suspected to be part of the fuselage, he added.
A team of divers had gone down since 5 a.m. to map the area where the black box is thought to be, Haryo said, describing sea conditions as normal.
Strong currents on Tuesday hampered the search, with the effort further complicated by the presence of energy pipelines nearby.
However, officials had said they were confident they were searching in the right area, having found items, such as life jackets, trousers and magazines, thought to be from the plane.
If found, the fuselage would be lifted using a crane, because of the many bodies likely to be trapped inside, Muhammad Syaugi, the chief of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said on Tuesday
Crashed Lion Air jet possibly found in Indonesian seas
A top Indonesian military official says the Lion Air jet that crashed Monday may have been found in the Java Sea.
Armed forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto says a search and rescue effort has identified the possible seabed location of the jet. Debris and some human remains were found previously but not the main fuselage and the black boxes.
The 2-month-old Boeing jet crashed Monday just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
Tjahjanto said a team would be sent to the identified location to confirm the findings.
Relatives numbed by grief have provided samples for DNA tests to help identify victims of the crash, which has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry.
More body parts found from crashed Indonesian jet
Indonesian search teams Tuesday recovered more remains at the site of a crashed Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea with 189 people aboard, as a report said it had suffered an instrument malfunction the day before.
The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just months ago, crashed into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to Jakarta on Monday.
Flight JT 610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar 13 minutes after take-off, with authorities saying witnesses saw the jet plunge into the water.
Dozens of divers are taking part in the recovery effort.
Search teams have filled ten body bags with limbs and other human remains, Muhammad Syaugi, head of the Indonesian national search and rescue agency told Metro TV, saying they will be taken to Jakarta for identification and DNA testing.
The remains of a baby were among those found, according to national deputy police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto.
Another 14 bags filled with debris have also been collected.
Shoes, items of clothing and a wallet are among the items found.
"We hope we can see the plane's main body - everything on the surface of the water has been collected," Syaugi said.
Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said there were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots and six cabin crew on board flight JT 610.
Among them were the plane's Indian captain, 20 Indonesian finance ministry employees and Andrea Manfredi, an Italian former professional cyclist.
The search and rescue agency all but ruled out finding any survivors late Monday, citing the discovery of body parts that suggested a high-impact crash in water some 30-40 metres deep off the coast of Indonesia's Java island.
"We are prioritising finding the main wreckage of the plane using five war ships equipped with sonar to detect metal underwater," said Yusuf Latif, spokesman of the Indonesian search and rescue agency.
Both the voice recorder and the flight data recorder - which could be key pieces of evidence - are still missing.
Indonesian passenger plane crashes into the sea
A Lion Air flight with at least 188 people on board is believed to have sunk after crashing into the sea off Indonesia's island of Java on Monday, shortly after take off from the capital on its way to the country's tin-mining hub, officials said.
A spokesman for Indonesia's search and rescue agency said the Lion Air flight, JT610, lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff, adding that a tug boat leaving the capital's port had seen the craft falling.
"It has been confirmed that it has crashed," the spokesman, Yusuf Latif, said by text message, when asked about the fate of the Lion Air plane, which air tracking service Flightradar 24 identified as a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.
Wreckage had been found near where the Lion Air plane lost contact with air traffic officials on the ground, said Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the search and rescue agency.
"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors," Syaugi told a news conference. "We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm."
Flight JT610 took off around 6.20 a.m. and was due to have landed in the capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region at 7.20 a.m., the Flightradar 24 website showed.
"We cannot give any comment at this moment," Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group, told Reuters, adding that a news conference was planned for later on Monday. "We are trying to collect all the information and data."
Preliminary flight tracking data from Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea.
It was last recorded at 3,650 feet (1,113 m) and its speed had risen to 345 knots, according to raw data captured by the respected tracking website, which could not immediately be confirmed.
Its last recorded position was about 15 km (9 miles) north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24.
The accident is the first to be reported that involves the widely-sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer's workhorse single-aisle jet. The
first Boeing 737 MAX jets were introduced into service in 2017.
Lion Air's Malaysian subsidiary, Malindo Air, received the very first global delivery.
Boeing is aware of the airplane accident reports and is "closely monitoring" the situation, it said on social network Twitter.