The National Search and Rescue Agency says debris spotted so far include aircraft parts, a handbag, driving license and national identity card.
At a news conference, officials said it had been carrying 178 adults, one infant and two babies, as well as two pilots and five cabin crew. All 108 people on board managed to survive.
"The plane crashed into water about 30 to 40m deep", Search and Rescue Agency spokesman Yusuf Latif told AFP news agency.
A Lion Air flight from Indonesia has dropped off radars minutes after takeoff, with authorities reportedly confirming it had crashed..
Delhi-based Bhavye Suneja was the captain on the ill-fated Indonesian carrier Lion Air's Boeing 737 Max that crashed today.
"We are preparing to depart to the location", said Soerjanto Tjahjono.
Air transport is crucial for connecting the country's tens of thousands of islands, but Indonesia has seen a number of airplane crashes in the past few years, including a Lion Air crash near Bali in 2013.
Relatives are praying and hugging each other at Pangkal Pinang airport as the recovery effort for the flight, which crashed into the Java Sea carrying 189 people, continues.
Lion Air Group's Chief Executive Edward Sirait earlier told Reuters: "We can not give any comment at this moment".
Speaking to media about the accident, the CEO of Lion airlines Edward Sirait said: "We can not offer any comment at this moment".
In February 2012, Lion Air placed an order for 201 of the in-development 737 Max planes and 29 of the extended range 737-900 aircraft in a $22.4 billion deal valued at list price.
Soerjanto said the Basarnas team was looking for the black box to determine the cause of the crash.
Several people were injured in the crash, but nobody was killed.
A spokesman for the air navigation company AirNav told the broadcaster Metro that the Boeing 737-800 had lost contact.
An artist's rendition courtesy of Boeing shows a 737 MAX passenger jet in Lion Air livery.