Indonesia plane crash: Rescuers uncover bodies, say 189 people on board likely didn’t survive

An Indonesian 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 on Monday.

The operations director at the agency, Bambang Suryo Aji, said 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 metres deep.

The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.

At the same news conference, a Lion Air official said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.

People watch rescue team members prepare the boat heading to the Lion Air, flight JT610, sea crash site off the coast of Karawang regency, West Java province, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Plane had technical problems

Lion Air’s president says the plane that crashed into the sea 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.

Relatives of passengers of Lion Air, flight JT610, that crashed into the sea cry at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Belitung island, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.

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. 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.

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