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This was later confirmed by Latif, who said the plane lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff.

Widodo, speaking in Bali where he was attending a conference, said he feels the anxiety of families and hopes they can remain calm while rescuers are working hard at the crash location at sea northeast of Jakarta.

Distraught relatives are praying for a miracle as they wait for information on their relatives on doomed Lion Air flight JT-610.

Lion Air flight JT610 disappeared from radar screens around 15 minutes after taking off from Jakarta on Monday morning - approximately 6.30am local time, 10.30am AEST. Reports suggest that the Lion Air had taken the delivery of the following aircraft in August this year.

The plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a brand new aircraft and the cause of the crash has not been confirmed. Malindo Air, a Malaysian subsidiary of Jakarta-based Lion Air, was the first airline to being using the 737 Max 8 past year.

Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation. This year it was one of three Indonesian airlines whose safety record was upgraded to the highest level, as the country passed an worldwide audit.

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

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The pilot had reportedly requested to return to base just moments earlier.

He added, "clearly if you're having an emergency you have to focus on troubleshooting first of all, and solving the problem, so you probably don't have a lot of time to talk to the controllers". Suneja had 6,000 flight hours of experience and the co-pilot has 5,000 flight hours, according to news agency Bloomberg. The carrier is among major customers for Boeing and Airbus in Asia.

Indonesia is one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets - and with 17,000 islands spread over an area stretching for thousands of kilometres, air travel is a fact of life.

Domestic passenger traffic has tripled over the past 12 years to 97 million in 2017, according to industry statistics.

The country's carriers have in the past faced years-long bans from entering European Union and United States airspace over their safety records.

Indonesian officials have begun a search for the 189 Lion Air survivors that include one child, two babies, two pilots, and six flight attendants, The Australian reported. The website tracked the plane, showing it looping south on take-off and then heading north before the flight path ended abruptly over the Java Sea, not far from the coast.


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