More body parts found from crashed Lion Air plane

Rescue workers lay out recovered belongings believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 30, 2018.
PHOTO: Reuters

Indonesian search teams Tuesday recovered more remains at the site of a crashed Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea with 189 people aboard, as a report said it had suffered an instrument malfunction the day before.

The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just months ago, crashed into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to Jakarta on Monday.

Flight JT 610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar 12 minutes after take-off, with authorities saying witnesses saw the jet plunge into the water.

Dozens of divers are taking part in the recovery effort.

Search teams have filled ten body bags with limbs and other human remains, Muhammad Syaugi, chief of the Indonesian national search and rescue agency told Metro TV, saying they will be taken to Jakarta for identification and DNA testing.

The remains of a baby were among those found, according to national deputy police chief Ari Dono Sukmanto.

Another 14 bags filled with debris have also been collected.

Shoes, items of clothing and a wallet are among the items found.

"We hope we can see the plane's main body -- everything on the surface of the water has been collected," Syaugi said.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said there were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots and six cabin crew on board flight JT 610.

Among them were the plane's Indian captain, 20 Indonesian finance ministry employees and Andrea Manfredi, an Italian former professional cyclist.

The search and rescue agency all but ruled out finding any survivors late Monday, citing the discovery of body parts that suggested a high-impact crash in water some 30-40 metres deep off the coast of Indonesia's Java island.

"We are prioritising finding the main wreckage of the plane using five war ships equipped with sonar to detect metal underwater," said Yusuf Latif, spokesman of the Indonesian search and rescue agency.

Both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder -- which could be key pieces of evidence -- are still missing.

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.

'UNRELIABLE'

The plane had been en route to Pangkal Pinang city, a jumping off point for beach-and-sun seeking tourists on nearby Belitung island, when it dropped out of contact around 6:30 am (2330 GMT).

Lion Air said the plane had only gone into service in August.

The pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours of flying time between them and had undergone recent medical checkups and drug testing, it added.

On Monday, Lion Air acknowledged the plane had an unspecified technical issue fixed in Bali before it was flown back to Jakarta, calling it "normal procedure".

A technical logbook detailed an "unreliable" airspeed reading instrument on the Bali-Jakarta flight on Sunday and different altitude readings on the captain and first officer's instruments, according to the BBC.

Copies of several Lion Air technical documents have been circulating on social media, but they could not be immediately confirmed as authentic.

The company did not return phones calls seeking comment.

Boeing suspended release of the 737 MAX just days before its first commercial delivery last year due to an engine issue, according to airline safety and product review site airlineratings.com.

It said the engines were a product of a joint venture between US-based General Electric and France's Safran Aircraft Engines.

Lion Air, Indonesia's biggest budget airline which has been engaged in huge expansion, announced earlier this year it was buying 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets for $6.24 billion (S$8.63 billion).

'FAKE NEWS, SAFETY WOES'

A string of fake news stories have been circulating in the aftermath of the crash, including one that falsely claims to show a baby who survived and a video purportedly showing panicked passengers just before the deadly accident.

Indonesia's disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho has knocked down both claims.

Indonesia's air travel industry is booming, with the number of domestic passengers growing significantly over the past decade, but it has acquired a reputation for poor regulation and its airlines had previously been banned from US and European airspace.

Lion has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.

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