His Holiness Pope Francis has expressed his sadness for the victims of a low-cost Indonesian aircraft that crashed into the sea with 189 people on board soon after taking off from the capital, Jakarta. Lion Air flight JT610 heading to Pangkal Pinang, in Bangka Island off Sumatra coast, lost contact with ground officials shortly after its pilot had asked to turn back to base about 13 minutes after takeoff, and crashed into the sea, officials said.

As reported by Vatican news,  A condolence telegram signed on the Pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of state, His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, read, “Having learned with sadness of the recent plane crash in Jakarta, His Holiness Pope Francis conveys his condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.”  “He offers the assurance of his prayers for all who have died and for those who mourn their loss.  Upon the nation and all involved in the rescue and recovery efforts His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God,” the cardinal wrote in the message to Archbishop Piero Pioppo, Apostolic Nuncio to Indonesia.

A tugboat leaving Jakarta port saw the aircraft fall. There was no sign of any survivor. President Joko Widodo ordered the transport safety commission to investigate and urged Indonesians to “keep on praying” as rescuers search for victims.