All 189 passengers in Indonesian airliner crash feared dead

Relatives of plane crash victims embrace as they await news of Lion Air flight JT-610, which lost contact with air traffic controllers after takeoff Monday. Photo by Mast Irham/EPA-EFE

Oct. 30 (UPI) — Search and rescue officials said there were likely no survivors in a Lion Air flight that crashed in Indonesia on Monday after they recovered some of the bodies from the crash site.

Up to 21 body bags containing human remains, debris from the airplane and personal items belonging to the victims were transported to a hospital in east Jakarta for identification as crews searched the Java Sea where the plane crashed. The aircraft carried 181 passengers — including three children — two pilots and six flight attendants.

“My prediction is that no one survived because we only managed to retrieve body parts. It has been a few hours since the crash so it is possible all 189 people were killed,” said Bambang Suryo Aji, director of operations for Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency, Basarnas.

Lion Air flight Flight JT-610 crashed into the sea one minute after it took off from Soekarano-Hatta International Airport in Greater Jakarta, on Monday. The new Boeing 737 MAX 8 was bound for Pangkai Pinan on the Indonesian island of Bangka.

Pilot Bhavye Suneja, an Indian national with more than 6,000 flight hours, said he wanted to return to the airport right after takeoff. The plane disappeared from radar and a tugboat crew reported debris about 8 miles north of Tangerang.

The fact that the pilot had enough time to tell air traffic controllers that he wanted to return is significant, former crash investigator Alan Diehl told CNN.

“Air safety investigators will be looking at four broad categories — mechanical, human, weather and criminal,” Diehl said. “It appears now that weather was not a factor but other than that, everything is on the table.”

Australia issued a warning to government officials not to fly Lion Air after the crash.

“This decision will be reviewed when the findings of the crash investigation are clear.”

Lion Air acquired the aircraft in August and had logged 800 flight hours with it prior to the crash.

Boeing released a statement saying it will provide technical assistance to crash investigators.

“We express our concern for those on board, and extend heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones,” the statement said.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the best-selling aircraft of all time, and the latest MAX versions are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.


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