Lion Air search focused under water, help from Singapore arriving

Navy personnel scour the sea for debris following a plane crash in the Java Sea on Monday. Lion Air flight JT 610 was on its way from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang, when it reportedly lost contact 13 minutes after take off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The search for the black box is crucial to answering why a brand new plane flying on a clear day could suffer such an ill fate.

Help from neighboring Singapore was scheduled to arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Monday evening. The assistance comprised three personnel and advanced equipment for finding black boxes, the head of the National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT), Soerjanto Tjahjono, said on Monday. 

National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) head M. Syauqi said that since 11 a.m. on Monday no more debris had been found floating on the surface. “So we have started the underwater search and the process is still ongoing,” he said at the airport.

He said the 30 special divers employed a diving pattern following the prediction of movement of objects, which is calculated based on the time the object fell into the water, as well as the current sea and wind conditions, said Syauqi.

“So the divers are not diving randomly, but in the location where the object is predicted to have moved based on weather and wind movement,” he said.

Syauqi also said that based on the search and rescue standard operating procedure, the search would last for seven days, with an additional three days if the object has not yet been found.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said at the same press conference that he had ordered a 24-hour search on Monday night as the remaining victims' bodies, the black box and the plane’s body, had not yet been found.

Lion Air said on Tuesday (Oct 30) human remains had been collected in 24 body bags after sweeps of the crash site .Photo: The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

The joint search and rescue team members, numbering around 300, are from Basarnas, the KNKT, the National Police and the Indonesian Military as well as the Transportation Ministry and the private sector.  

“There are more or less 15 ships in total that have been deployed for the search and rescue at [the crash site]. I instructed them to keep searching for 24 hours using lamp [light] for the search and rescue process,” Jokowi said. 

Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashes into sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta

  • Chief of Indonesia's Lion Air flight JT610 search and rescue operations Muhammad Syaugi looks through recovered belongings believed to be from the crashed flight at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta
  • A pair of infant shoes is pictured among recovered belongings believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta.
  • There were 189 people on board flight JT610 of budget airline Lion Air when ground staff lost contact with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft early on Monday, 13 minutes after it had left the airport in Jakarta, the capital.
  • Rescue team members arrange the wreckage, showing part of the logo of Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea
  • A crying mother shows a graduation picture of her son, Agil Nugroho Septian, who was a passenger on Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at her house in Tegal, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.
  • Lutfiani shows an undated picture of her husband, Deryl Fida Febrianto, a passenger on Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at her house in Surabaya, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.
  • A witness in the Karawang district said he had heard an explosion from the beach around the time the aircraft went down.
  • Sangeeta Suneja, mother of Bhavye Suneja, a pilot of Lion Air flight JT610 which crashed into the sea, reacts as she leaves for Jakarta, in New Delhi
  • Gulshan Suneja, father of pilot Bhavye Suneja.
  • Sony Setiawan (C) speaks to journalists at Pangkal Pinang airport in Bangka Belitung province on October 29, 2018, following his arrival on another airline after missing his pre-planned flight on Lion Air flight JT 610 which crashed off the coast north of Jakarta. - Setiawan was due to board the ill-fated Boeing-737 MAX but was held up on his commute to Soekarno-Hatta airport by Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion.
  • A forensics team carries bodies of the victims of Lion Air flight JT610 to Sukanto National Police Hospital, East Jakarta, on Monday. In a statement, Lion Air said human remains had been collected in 24 body bags after sweeps of the crash site, which is about 15 km (nine miles) off the coast to the northeast of Jakarta.
  • Rescue team members carry a body bag with the remains of a passenger.
  • Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati hugs a relative of a victim of the Lion Air flight JT610 crash.
  • The Indonesian authorities have mounted a search and rescue operation for a Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Monday (Oct 29) morning.
  • There are 189 passengers and crew on board the plane, including two infants, one child, two pilots and six cabin crew.
  • The plane plunged into Karawang Bay, West Java province, Mr Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue agency, told a press briefing.
  • The waters at the crash site are around 30m to 35m deep.
  • "On the sea surface, we found debris… The location is two nautical miles from where the plane lost contact," he told reporters.
  • The crash site is near a facility of state-owned oil company Pertamina in West Java province. A video taken from a Pertamina vessel near the crash site showed oil patches on the water surface.
  • Officials said the plane had requested a return to base before finally disappearing from the radar.
  • Local TV footage also showed wallets and mobile phones that had been retrieved from the waters.
  • The head of Indonesia's national transportation safety committee (KNKT) Dr Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters that the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that crashed entered service in August this year and had clocked only about 800 flight hours.
  • When asked on the cause of the crash, Dr Soerjanto said: "We can't presume anything before finding the blackbox and also the recording from the (air traffic control) tower."
  • An Indonedian boatman takes pictures as debris from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province.

HELP FROM A NEIGHBOUR

KNKT head Soerjanto said his office would send one more ship that would carry the more advanced equipment for the underwater search from Singapore. The equipment is expected to be more sensitive in locating the black box.

“Tonight, we will send one more ship, Baruna Jaya I. Now, we are waiting for friends from Singapore that will also bring equipment to help us. They will arrive soon in Cengkareng and we will head to the ship as soon as they arrive here tonight,” said Soerjanto. 

Several ships that have been deployed are equipped with multibeam echo sonar, which could help to locate where the debris sank underwater.

Soerjanto said he hoped the search goes well, especially since the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) predicted that weather in the search area for the next few days would be clear. 

'WEATHER WAS CLEAR'

BMKG in its statement earlier reported that the weather when the accident happened was clear.   

“Before the flight departure, the BMKG provided information about the weather forecast according to satellite imaging, radar imaging and even the local weather forecast using Automatic Weather Observation System (AWOS). The information consists of wind direction and velocity, visible range, temperature, pressure, etc. The weather forecast also includes the airport condition at the time of departure, the airport condition at the time of arrival, and the weather throughout the flight route,” said BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati in a press statement on Monday.

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