Indonesia extends search mission after fatal flight

JAKARTA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) - Indonesian search and rescue office Wednesday planned to prolong the search for the cockpit voice recorder, fuselage and body parts of passengers of the Lion Air plane that plunged into waters off western Indonesia nine days ago, top rescuer disclosed.


Members of the search team lift part of the landing gear of the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 during search operations at sea off the coast from Karawang on November 5, 2018. The Boeing 737 Max 8 with 189 people plunged into the Java Sea just 12 minutes after takeoff on a routine one-hour flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city in Sumatra on October 29. (Photo: VCG)

The national search and rescue office extended the mission for another three-day mission, starting on Thursday, searching for the crucial parts of the almost new Boeing 737 Max 8 jet plane and body parts of the victims.

The mission is winded down as it will be only carried out by the personnel from the office, excluding the assistance from armed forces, police, the government institutions and volunteers, head of the office Muhammad Syaugi said.

By far, a total of 186 body bags consisting body parts have been handed to the Disaster Victim Identification unit of Indonesian police hospital for identification, and some others body parts in several body bags have also been retrieved from the sea floor, but are still kept in ships, he said.

A total of 44 human bodies have been identified so far by the identification team, according to the police.

As of now, the divers have retrieved the flight data reorder, two landing gears and two turbines of the Lion Air plane with flight number JT 6-10 that crashed into the ocean off Jakarta 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta international airport in Banten province, Syaugi said.

Thick layer of mud and sand, over one meter, has hampered divers to identify the cockpit voice recorder whose signal released by ping locator installed in the device that has been frequently detected, he added.

The country's transport safety committee will probe the cause of the glitch at the speed indicator during the fatal flight that killed all the 189 people on board, investigator at the committee Captain Nurcahyo Utomo said.