The Jakarta Post
Despite some 900 personnel, including 50 divers, from the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), the Indonesian Military (TNI), the National Police and local fishermen working hand-in-hand to recover debris and bodies from Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed into the Java Sea on Monday morning, few significant findings have been made.
A team from Singapore with specialized equipment to locate the plane's black box has joined the search while Malaysian and Argentinian governments have also offered help.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the search and rescue team--assisted by four multipurpose research vessels, 35 smaller vessels and two helicopters—had only been able to find bits of wreckage, several body parts and personal belongings believed to belong to passengers. The findings were collected in 24 body bags that have been transported to Kramatjati Police Hospital, East Jakarta, for further investigation.
Meanwhile, the fuselage of the plane, inside which the bodies of most of the victims are believed to be, has not been located.
Basarnas, therefore, expanded the search area to 10 nautical miles from the place where the plane is thought to have gone down on Tuesday, from the previous 5 nautical miles on Monday. The agency has also called on fishermen who find anything related to the plane’s crash to report their findings to a post set up in Tanjung Karawang, West Java.
“We’ve expanded the search area today in the hope that we can find the plane’s main body and the victims believed to be inside it,” a senior official at Basarnas, Didi Hamzar, said in a press conference.
Didi further said that two additional body bags were on their way to the Police Hospital on Tuesday afternoon. None of the bags contained intact bodies.
Air traffic control at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport lost contact with JT610 shortly after it took off at 6:20 a.m. on Monday. The plane, carrying 189 people on board, was scheduled to arrive at 7:20 a.m. at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung Islands.
The National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT)--involved in the search and rescue process as well as the accident’s investigation--said separately that it had made some progress but nothing significant.
“Up until now we haven’t got significant data [on the crash]. Please give us sufficient time to find the answers to the incident and to look into all of the data we have gathered,” flight accident investigator at the KNKT, Ony S. Wibowo, said.
The KNKT stated that it had collected basic data, including reports from the pilots who flew the plane from Denpasar in Bali to Jakarta on Sunday night, and a recording of the JT610 pilot requesting a return to base shortly after leaving Soekarno-Hatta airport.
“However, we cannot reveal much for now,” he said. (evi)