The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft en route to Pangkal Pinang city crashed near Kerawang, 32 miles east of Jakarta. "I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far".
Preliminary flight tracking data from the Flightradar website, which tracks air traffic in real time from all around the world, showed the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea.
Lion Air acquired the Boeing 737 MAX 8 in August 2018 and it had only flown 800 hours, Tjahjono said.
Director of Operations at the National Search and Rescue Agency Brigadier General Bambang Suryo Aji said that the prediction was based on the condition of the body parts recovered from the surface of the waters.
Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait said yesterday the plane had encountered an unspecified "technical issue" on its previous flight, which was from the resort island of Bali to Jakarta, but this had been "resolved according to procedure".
According to his LinkedIn account, Mr Suneja had worked for Lion Air since 2011, clocking up some 6,000 flight hours.
The MAX versions of the 737s are touted for their LEAP jet engines which Boeing says "redefine the future of efficient and environmentally friendly air travel".
Family members of the crashed Indonesian Lion Air JT-610 react at Pangkal Pinang airport, in Bangka Belitung province.
The pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours of flying time between them and had recent medical checkups and drug testing, the authorities said.
The Boeing Company released a brief statement on Monday saying the company is "deeply saddened by the loss of Lion Air Flight JT 610" and is providing technical assistance at the request and under the direction of government authorities investigating the accident.
The waters where the jet went down are up to 100ft deep.
Keshia Aurelia, 14 - whose mother was on board flight JT610 - waited with dozens of other families at a makeshift crisis centre for information throughout the day, but already has grown frustrated at the lack of updates from officials.
He said it is hard to pin a specific accident on the safety culture, but that worldwide regulators will be closely watching the investigation into Flight 610, which will look for clues from the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
The search for the black box flight recorder and the remains of the aircraft is expected to continue overnight.
However, six other Lion Air jets, including one that crash-landed in the water short of the runway at the Indonesian resort island of Bali in 2013, were damaged beyond fix in various accidents, according to Aviation Safety Network.
The last fatal air crash was in August when a small Pilatus Porter light plane of Dimonim Air crashed in the mountainous area of Papua province, killing eight people on board with a 12-year-old boy as the sole survivor.
Lion Air, a low-priced airline, has been involved in a number of incidents.
A year earlier poor maintenance and inadequate pilot response was blamed for an AirAsia plane crash which cost 162 lives. Boeing has taken almost 4800 orders for the plane, including 201 from Lion Air..
Previous year one of its Boeing jets collided with a Wings Air plane as it landed at Kualanamu airport on the island of Sumatra, although no one was injured.
In 2013 a Lion Air jet with a rookie pilot at the controls undershot the runway and crashed into the sea in Bali, splitting the plane in two. Around 20 people were also killed on the ground and several housing blocks torn apart. Lion Air received the jet involved in the crash just two months ago. The accident was a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and U.S.