lion air
A Lion Air passenger flight lost contact with air traffic control early Monday morning and crashed into the sea. A Lion Air Boeing 737-800 plane prepares to land at Changi International airport in Singapore, April 8, 2016. ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images

UPDATE: 7.00 a.m. EDT - According to reports, the aircraft was cleared to return to airport after making a request two-three minutes post takeoff. As of now, seven bags of victims have arrived at the National Police Hospital, Jakarta.

"We immediately put it in the freezer, we will do the inspection of the bodies from tomorrow morning," Forensic expert Kombes Pol Edy Purnomo told local media. The Ministry of Finance mourned the incident and said there were 21 ministry employees aboard the crashed plane.

UPDATE: 5.00 a.m. EDT - Rescue officials recovered six bodies and brought them to the port of Tanjung Priok along with debris on Monday afternoon. The identities of the dead persons are not clear yet.

According to reports, the Australian government has instructed its government officials and contractors not to fly on Lion Air after the crash. The airline confirmed that one Italian passenger was aboard the flight.

A Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said so far there have been no reports of any Singaporeans on board the flight. "Singapore has offered to assist the Indonesian Government in any way if Indonesia requires it,” the spokesperson said.

UPDATE: 3.18 a.m. EDT - According to reports, the Indonesian aircraft that crashed into the sea had suffered technical problems on its previous flight but the issue was resolved.

Before the crash Monday, the pilot, Bhavya Suneja from New Delhi, had sought to turn back just before losing contact. A spokesperson for Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency said no survivors were found. The Ministry of Finance of Indonesia confirmed there were 20 government officials on board the aircraft.

UPDATE: 2.00 a.m. EDT - In a statement, Boeing said it is "deeply saddened by the loss of Flight JT 610. We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones."

A total of 17 boats are on the crash site and search and rescue teams are collecting the debris and personal belongings of passengers from the water. Lion Air said the pilot had more than 6,000 hours of flight experience and the co-pilot had more than 5,000.

UPDATE: 12.00 a.m. EDT - According to local reports, body fragments have been found in the water. "From the first ship to see fragments, there are pieces of legs," Tanjung Priok Port officer Suyadi said. Patrol vessels KNP 356, 507 and 557 were dispatched to the location by the port.

UPDATE: 11.30 p.m. EDT - Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management confirmed the aircraft had 178 adult passengers, one child, two babies, two pilots and five flight attendants. Wreckage including seats and life vest was found on the sea surface near the city of Karawang. Some boats are on site.

Boeing confirmed it is aware of reports of the crash and is closely monitoring the situation.

Original story:

A Lion Air passenger flight lost contact with air traffic control early Monday morning and crashed into the sea, Indonesia’s search and rescue officials said. The aircraft was carrying up to 188 people.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737 Max 8, was en route to the city of Pangkal Pinang off the island of Sumatra from Jakarta, Indonesia.

"It has been confirmed that it has crashed," Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for the agency, confirmed.

The Lion Air flight JT-610 departed Jakarta at 6.20 a.m. local time Monday (7.20 p.m. EDT Sunday) and was scheduled to land in Pangkal Pinang at 7.20 a.m. local time ( 8.20 p.m. EDT). The flight lost contact with the air traffic controller 13 minutes after takeoff, The Straits Times reported.

Jakarta-based Elshinta radio reported that a tugboat notified Indonesia’s Tanjung Priok seaport’s Vessel Traffic Service that it had noticed an aircraft plunging into the waters.

"It's true that Lion Air JT 610 has lost contact. We have forwarded the information to search and rescue teams," AirNav Indonesia spokesman Yohanes Harry Douglas said, Channel New Asia reported.

Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said, "We can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet,” The Sun reported.

"We cannot give any comment at this moment. We are trying to collect all the information and data,” said Edward Sirait, chief executive of Lion Air Group.