Survivors unlikely in Indonesian plane crash
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/29/18, 09:27 am
Rescuers are searching for debris and human remains after an Indonesian plane with 189 people on board crashed into the sea minutes after it took off early Monday morning from Jakarta. The Lion Air plane went down 13 minutes after it departed the Indonesian capital for Pangkal Pinang, an island chain off Sumatra. Officials said 181 passengers and eight crew members boarded the flight, including an Italian national and an Indian pilot.
A search and rescue official Monday afternoon said it is unlikely there are any survivors. Bambang Suryo Aji, the operations director with the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency, said the rescue effort at the crash site has focused on recovering human remains. He said six body bags have been used so far.
Lion Air began using the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane in August. The plane had a technical problem on its last flight, but the issue was resolved, said airline President Edward Sirait. Novie Riyanto, who heads the AirNav air traffic management, said an air traffic controller had approved the pilot’s request to return to base about two or three minutes after takeoff.
The United States and Europe recently lifted bans against Indonesian airlines due to safety concerns. Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked the National Commission for Transportation Safety to investigate the crash, the nation’s worst since an Air Asia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya en route to Singapore crashed into the sea in December 2014, killing everyone on board.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.