KARAWANG, Indonesia (AP) – A search and rescue agency official says he’s not expecting any survivors from the Lion Air plane that crashed into seas off Jakarta with 189 people aboard.
The operations director at the agency, Bambang Suryo Aji, says the search effort is focusing on finding bodies. He said six body bags have been used so far for human remains recovered.
Aji said the location of the plane hull hasn’t been identified yet. Waters where it sank are up to 30 meters (100 feet) deep.
The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.
Lion Air’s president says the plane that crashed into the sea Monday had a technical problem on its last flight that was resolved.
Airline President Edward Sirait said Monday the technical problem on Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was resolved in accordance with the manufacturer’s procedures. He wasn’t more specific but said the problem on the earlier flight would be part of the investigation of Monday’s crash.
Separately, Indonesia’s Directorate-General of Air Transportation said the flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang requested to return to Jakarta shortly after takeoff from the capital’s airport. Officials say the plane was cleared to return to airport after making the request 2-3 minutes after takeoff, but the plane crashed into the sea about 13 minutes after takeoff.
In a statement about the tragedy, the air transportation agency’s spokesman Sindu Rahayu said, “The plane had requested a return to base before disappearing from the radar.” It gave no other details about the request.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he has ordered the National Commission for Transportation Safety to investigate crash of a Lion Air plane.
He said rescuers are making their best efforts to find victims and urged Indonesians “to keep on praying.”
Widodo, speaking in Bali where he was attending a conference, said he feels the anxiety of families and hopes they can remain calm while rescuers are working hard at the crash location at sea northeast of Jakarta.
Saat ini tim SAR Basarnas melakukan penyelaman dikoordinat 05 derajat 90' 361" S – 107 derajat 06' 618" E untuk mencari pesawat Lion Air JT 610 yang jatuh di perairan Karawang Jawa Barat. pic.twitter.com/XK0UiSKyfH
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 29, 2018