Search For Lion Air JT610 Continues

October 30, 2018

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Indonesia continued to search for the wreckage of Lion Air flight JT610 on Tuesday, with helicopters and several ships joining the search and recovery mission.

In a statement, the airline said that 24 body bags had been taken to Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta. Family members of passengers and crew on the flight are at the hospital to identify the bodies.

Lion Air flight JT610 had taken off from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport around 06:20 local time on a one hour flight to Pangkal Pinang. It had 189 people on board, 178 adult passengers, one child and two infants, plus two pilots and six cabin crew.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed the aircraft descended rapidly before gaining height and picking up speed. The captain requested a return to Jakarta, which was approved, but contact was lost about 13 minutes into the flight.

The area being searched is off Karawang, West Java, around where contact was lost with the aircraft. Only personal items and some body parts have been found, and search and rescue personnel said the search area would be widened on Wednesday.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 that crashed is nearly new, having only been delivered to the low cost airline in August. Questions are now being asked as to why a brand new aircraft can crash in good visibility.

Lion Air chief executive Edward Sirait told a press conference on Monday that a technical problem had been reported on the plane’s previous flight from Denpasar, Bali to Jakarta the night before. The technical issue had been resolved overnight, he said.

Media reports now indicate that the technical problem may have been more serious than initially thought, with instrument readings differing between the captain’s and the first officer’s instruments. Airspeed indicators appeared to be unreliable according to reports.

Search and rescue efforts include an underwater drone and instruments to detect the pings the flight data and cockpit voice recorders transmit. The 737 is believed to be lying in water that is 30-35 metres (100-115 feet) deep.