A Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air has crashed into the sea off the coast of Java shortly after take-off.

The aircraft had 188 people onboard and took off from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta at 6:20am local time on Monday. It was due to reach an hour later at Pangkal Pinang.

Around 13 minutes after take-off, Flight JT 610 lost contact with ground control staff while flying over the Java Sea.

The authorities are yet to confirm whether there are any survivors from the crash, reported BBC.

According to the officials, there were 178 adults, one infant, two babies, two pilots and five cabin crew members onboard the plane.

Debris believed to be from the aircraft, such as seats, was seen near an offshore oil refinery operated by Pertamina in the Java Sea.

Indonesia search and rescue agency spokesman Yusuf Latif was quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP) as saying: “The plane crashed into water about 30m to 40m deep.

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“We will collect all data from the control tower. The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too. But the most important is the blackbox.”

“We’re still searching for the remains of the plane.”

At a news conference, Indonesia search and rescue agency head Muhmmad Syaugi said that the plane’s emergency locator transmitter did not send a distress signal before the crash.

The cause of the crash is yet to be established by officials.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee official Soerjanto Tjahjono said: “We will collect all data from the control tower. The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too. But the most important is the blackbox.”

Lion Air received the aircraft in August, reported flight tracking website Flightradar24.

The US National Transportation Safety Board will help investigate the crash, with support from technical advisers from Boeing and US-French engine manufacturer CFM International.