A day after Indonesian Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the sea minutes after takeoff from the capital Jakarta, questions are being asked as to what caused the new Boeing jet to suddenly lose altitude, killing all 189 people on board.
Divers and rescue teams were working Tuesday to bring passenger remains out of the water, as investigators examined fragments of debris scattered over a large expanse of sea.
The aircraft’s fuselage and flight data recorders are yet to be recovered, which should provide more evidence as to what caused the flight to crash about 13 minutes after taking off on a routine flight expected to take just over one hour.
What we know
- Plane went down at around 6:30 am local time Monday, en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang
- Indonesian authorities believe all 189 people on board were killed
- So-called “black box” flight recorder has yet to be found
- Flight crew reported an issue with the plane the night before the flight, repairs were carried out
Police said late Monday that 24 body bags had been transferred from the crash to a local hospital for post mortem. DNA samples have been taken from 132 family members of passengers on board to help with identification, but the Jakarta police commissioner warned this could be difficult, and each body bag so far transferred could contain the remains of more than one person.
At a press conference Tuesday, Muhammad Syaugi of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said the identification process was proceeding as quickly as possible, but warned it was unlikely the remains of all passengers would be found.
Agency staff are going through personal items recovered from the crash site, including passports, wallets and IDs. Images show a child’s bright red Hello Kitty money pouch among items retrieved from the sea.
More remains and debris were unloaded at the Tanjung Priok port late Tuesday afternoon local time, where Indonesia’s Transport Minister, Budi Karya Sumadi, joined search teams in examining the material.
One family member, 14-year-old Keshia Aurelia, was in high school when she heard the news her mother Fifi Hajanto had been on the plane when it went down.
“We cried a lot in (the crisis center) while we were waiting for the authorities,” she told CNN. “All of the families were crying. I’m not the only one suffering so I have to be strong.”
“My mom was a very kind person,” Aurelia added. “I don’t understand why (this happened).”
Nuni Hesti, 53, lost both her son and grandson in the disaster. The pair — Wahyu Aldilla and Xherdan Fahrezi — had traveled to Jakarta to watch a football game over the weekend.
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SOURCE: CNN, James Griffiths, Steve George and Kathy Quiano