Indonesia hunts for victims, wreckage of air crash; survivors seen unlikely
Updated : October 30, 2018 12:29 PM IST
Indonesia on Tuesday stepped up a search for an airliner that plunged into the sea with all 189 aboard feared dead, deploying underwater beacons to trace its black box recorders and uncover why an almost-new plane crashed minutes after take-off.
Indonesia, one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets, has a patchy safety record. With the now almost certain prospect of all on board having died, the crash is set to rank as the country's second-worst air disaster.
Ground staff lost contact with flight JT610 of budget airline Lion Air 13 minutes after the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft took off early on Monday from the airport in Jakarta, the capital, on its way to Indonesia's tin-mining region.
The search and rescue agency added that four sonar detectors were also being used in areas where aircraft debris was found a day earlier off the shore of Karawang, West Java, and 15 vessels were scouring the sea surface.
A helicopter circled over five rubber boats carrying about 36 rescuers, as some donned rubber suits, readying to dive.
Earlier, however, Yusuf Latif, the spokesman of the national search and rescue agency, had said finding survivors "would be a miracle", judging by the condition of the recovered debris and body parts.
In a statement, Lion Air said human remains were collected in 24 body bags after sweeps of the site of the crash, in waters about 30 to 35 metres (98 to 115 ft) deep roughly 15 km (nine miles) off the coast to the northeast of Jakarta.
The bags were taken to a hospital for identification, with more expected overnight, authorities told broadcaster Metro TV.