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More body parts found from crashed Indonesian jet

Indonesian Red and Cross members carry a body bag containing the remains of a passenger on board the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610, at the Jakarta port in Jakarta yesterday. – AFP



JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesian search teams yesterday 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.

The accident has resurrected concerns about the patchy safety record of Indonesia’s aviation industry.

Search teams have filled 10 body bags with limbs and other human remains, Chief of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi told Metro TV. Dozens of divers are taking part in the recovery effort.

The parts were taken for identification and DNA testing at a Jakarta police hospital, where distraught relatives gathered, including Hari Setiyono whose son-in-law was on the doomed plane.

“My daughter has no husband, my grandchild no longer has a father,” Setiyono told AFP.

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, including shoes, items of clothing and a wallet.

“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 Italian former professional cyclist Andrea Manfredi.

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 spokesman of the Indonesian Search And Rescue Agency Yusuf Latif.

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

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 6.30am.

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.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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