LION AIR CRASH: 24 bodies recovered, no sign of plane wreckage


JAKARTA – A search-and-rescue team has recovered 24 bodies and pieces of plane debris and passenger belongings in the sea north of Jakarta where a Lion Air commercial aircraft crashed on Monday.

However, the round-the-clock operation, conducted by 19 vessels and three helicopters in the Tanjung  Karawang waters, failed to find any wreckage of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 which went down with 189 people on board.

These details were given by Bambang Suryo Aji, director (operations) of the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), who said: “By this morning (9 am / 10 am in Malaysia), we found 24 bodies, besides pieces of aircraft debris and some belongings of the passengers.”

Lion Air Flight JT610, carrying 181 passengers and eight crew, went missing minutes after taking off at 6.20 am (7.20 am in Malaysia) from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta for the Depati Amir  Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Pulau Bangka Belitung, Sumatera. It was scheduled to arrive at the Depati Amir airport at 7.10 am (8.10 am in Malaysia).

So far, there have been no reports of Malaysians being on board the ill-fated aircraft. 

Bambang said the bodies, which were not whole, have been sent to hospital for identification.

He added that the authorities can only assume that all the passengers and crew have died in the crash.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo Monday ordered the search-and-rescue operation to go on round-the-clock.