Friday 16 November 2018

Divers see crashed Indonesian jet fuselage as 'ping' heard in search for black box

Brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into Java Sea on Monday, killing all 189 people on board

Rescuers carry body bags containing the remains of the victims of Lion Air crash at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia (Binsar Bakkara/AP)
Rescuers carry body bags containing the remains of the victims of Lion Air crash at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia (Binsar Bakkara/AP)

By Andi Jatmiko, Associated Press

Divers have reported seeing the fuselage and engines of a crashed Lion Air plane on the seabed, and a ping locator has detected a signal which may be from the cockpit voice recorder, Indonesia’s search and rescue chief has said.

The brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea early on Monday, just minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

Speaking on the sixth day of the search, Muhammad Syaugi said two engines and more landing gear had been found. The plane crashed in water 98ft (30m) deep but strong currents have hampered the search.

“I haven’t seen it myself but I got information from some divers that they have seen the fuselage,” he said at a news conference at a Jakarta port where body bags, debris and passenger belongings are first taken.

Distraught: Relatives of passengers on Lion Air flight JT610 wait at the airport in Jakarta. Photo: Reuters
Distraught: Relatives of passengers on Lion Air flight JT610 wait at the airport in Jakarta. Photo: Reuters

Local media reported on Saturday that the search effort had claimed the life of a diver on Friday evening.

The flight data recorder was recovered on Thursday and Mr Syuagi said a “low ping signal” was detected by a sonar locator which could be the black box voice recorder.

Divers and a remotely operated vehicle have been searching the suspected location since Saturday morning.

Flight tracking websites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude during its 13-minute flight on Monday and during a previous flight on Sunday from Bali to Jakarta.

Passengers on Sunday’s flight reported terrifying descents and in both cases the different cockpit crews requested to return to their departure airport shortly after take-off.

Lion has claimed a technical problem was fixed after Sunday’s flight. Investigators are still attempting to retrieve information from the flight data recorder’s “crash surviveable memory unit” which will help determine the cause of the disaster. It has been damaged and requires special handling, they said.

Relatives began to gather at the airport on Monday (AP/Hadi Sutrisno)
Relatives began to gather at the airport on Monday (AP/Hadi Sutrisno)
Distraught: Relatives of passengers on Lion Air flight JT610 wait at the airport in Jakarta. Photo: Reuters
Rescuers conduct search operation in the waters of Ujung Karawang, West Java (AP)
Rescuers search for victims of a Lion Air passenger jet that crashed in the waters off Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and U.S. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Relatives of passengers of the Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea are seen at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang, Belitung island, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Hadi Sutrisno via REUTERS
Rescue personnel prepare to dive at the location where a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea in the north coast of Karawang regency, West Java province Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Handout/Basarnas via REUTERS
A rescue personnel prepares a ROV before starting to find the location of the Lion Air plane crash in the sea in Karawang regency, West Java province Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Handout/Basarnas via REUTERS
Relatives of passengers of the Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea cry at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang, Belitung island, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Hadi Sutrisno via REUTERS
Recovered debris are seen of what is believed from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, that took off from Jakarta and crashed into the ocean, Indonesia October 29, 2018 in this image obtained from social media. Basarnas/via REUTERS
Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea arrive at Soekarno Hatta International airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
In this May 12, 2012 file photo, a Lion Air passenger jet is parked on the tarmac at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indonesia's Lion Air said Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra. (AP Photo/Trisnadi, File)
In this photo released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) rescuers inspect debris believed to be from a Lion Air passenger jet that crashed off West Java on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (BNPB via AP)
In this photo released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) a rescuer inspects debris believed to be from Lion Air passenger jet that crashed off West Java on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (BNPB via AP)
In this photo released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) rescuers inspect debris believed to be from Lion Air passenger jet that crashed off West Java on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.. (BNPB via AP)
In this photo released by Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) rescuers inspect oi slick debris believed to be from Lion Air passenger jet that crashed off West Java on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (BNPB via AP)
Workers of PT Pertamina examine recovered debris of what is believed from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, onboard Prabu ship owned by PT Pertamina, off the shore of Karawang regency, West Java province, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/PT Pertamina/Handout via REUTERS
Workers of PT Pertamina stand onboard Prabu ship owned by PT Pertamina as they watch what is believed to be debris from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, off the shore of Karawang regency, West Java province, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/PT Pertamina/Handout via REUTERS
Passengers wait for their flight in front of a Lion Air office at Soekarno Hatta International airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Workers of PT Pertamina examine recovered debris from what is believed to be the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, onboard Prabu ship owned by PT Pertamina off the shore of Karawang regency, West Java province, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/PT Pertamina/Handout via REUTERS
Workers of PT Pertamina examine recovered debris of what is believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610, onboard Prabu ship owned by PT Pertamina, off the shore of Karawang regency, West Java province, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/PT Pertamina/Handout via REUTERS
A policeman helps a woman who is a relative of a passenger of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, as she arrives at a crisis center at Soekarno Hatta International airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, arrive at crisis center at Soekarno Hatta International airport near Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, cry at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Elza Elvia via REUTERS

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The US lifted a decade-long ban in 2016.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in south-east Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

In this May 12, 2012 file photo, a Lion Air passenger jet is parked on the tarmac at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indonesia's Lion Air said Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra. (AP Photo/Trisnadi, File)
In this May 12, 2012 file photo, a Lion Air passenger jet is parked on the tarmac at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indonesia's Lion Air said Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra. (AP Photo/Trisnadi, File)

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