Rescue teams desperately search for survivors of crashed Lion Air flight

World Today

Rescuers load body bags containing debris and remains of the victims of the crashed Lion Air plane during a rescue operation in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Rescuers in Indonesia are still scouring the waters of West Java, searching for victims of the ill-fated Lion Air flight. The 7-37 crashed minutes after takeoff from the Jakarta Monday. All 189 people on board are presumed dead. 

CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia filed this report from Jakarta.

The wait is agonizing for the families of the passengers and crew that were on board Lion Air JT610. The flight took off on Oct 29 from Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport en route to Pangkal Pinang in Sumatra. It then completely lost contact with ground authorities 13 minutes later.

Authorities revealed immediately the plane had crashed in the waters of Karawang in West Java. The search and rescue team has been working around the clock to find any signs of survivors and more bodies of the 189 on board.

Thirty-four search and rescue boats, along with 300 people, are focused on searching two areas off the waters of West Java. They’re using sonar, underwater operated vehicles, and ping locators in hopes of finding the flight’s black box.

This isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened to a Lion Air flight. Authorities are now forced to look into the company’s history. The aircraft involved in the latest crash had trouble just a day before it took off.

Even though Lion Air engineers reported the issues, it was still cleared to fly. Now the question is: why? That’s what authorities will be looking into as part of their investigations.

Indonesia, in general, does not have an impressive aviation record. In the past few years, the country’s low-cost airlines experienced several minor collisions.

“It will take at least one year to complete the investigation in terms of evaluation, clarification and verification,” said Honi Suryo Wibowo, Aircraft Investigator forIndonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee. “But within this month, we will already begin writing preliminary reports by gathering all of the data necessary. After that, we start looking at the pilot’s history, the debris found, and technical difficulties that led to the crash.”

Indonesia’s air travel industry is booming, and accessibility has become more important than ever. Authorities are thoroughly investigating documents of Lion Air JT610, where logs had shown that one instrument was considered unreliable.

Denny Kelly discusses the Lion Air plane crash

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to aviation expert Denny Kelly about how unusual it is for a plane that’s only been in service for several months to crash.