Indonesia's national search and rescue agency Basarnas confirms that a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 operating the Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang route has crashed.

Speaking at a press conference, Basarnas chief Muhammad Syaugi says that aircraft debris such as safety vests and personal belongings have been found 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.

National Transport Safety Committee chief Suryanto Cahyono says that since its delivery in August the aircraft has completed 800 flight hours.

Prior to the accident, the crew sought to return to either of Jakarta's two airports, Soekarno Hatta and Halim Perdanakusuma, due to "technical issues," adds Cahyono.

While flight tracking sites indicate the jet is registered PK-LQP, neither Basarnas nor NTSC officials confirmed the registration.

The aircraft departed at 06:20 local time operating flight JT610. Local media indicates that contact was lost 13 minutes after takeoff. The aircraft was scheduled to land at 07:20.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the aircraft was delivered on 13 August 2018, and bears serial number 43000. It is equipped with 180 seats, and managed by CMIG Leasing.

Source: Cirium Dashboard