Crews hunt for 'black boxes' of downed Indonesian jet; 24 bodies found

Crews hunt for 'black boxes' of downed Indonesian jet; 24 bodies found

Navy divers continue recovery operations of the Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea on Monday in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.

Dozens of relatives of the missing gathered at a police hospital in East Jakarta, where body bags had been brought for forensic experts to try and identify victims, with techniques such as taking swabs of saliva from families for DNA tests.

It cited Bali airport official Herson, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.

Lion Air has removed its technical director Muhammad Asif following an order from Indonesia's transport ministry in the wake of a deadly plane crash, the airline said on Wednesday (Oct 31). A "pan pan" indicates an urgent situation and is one step below a Mayday. Before the crash, the pilot requested to return to Jakarta airport after facing an unspecified issue.

The pilot of a Lion Air flight from Indonesia's Bali island on Sunday made a radio alert minutes after takeoff because of technical problems, but they were overcome and he pushed on to Jakarta.

They will also question pilots who flew the same aircraft from Bali to Jakarta on Sunday, and its passengers.

It has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Lion Air flight JT610 was destined for the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang when it crashed on Monday, October 29.

Authorities are cracking down on Lion Air and ordered an audit of its fix unit as the hunt for clues for the crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane continues for a fourth day.

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"In principle, all data we have obtained, including flight data and air navigation, and also from other sources - we find that there have indeed been problems" with the plane, said Haryo Satmiko, deputy chairman of the National Transport Safety Committee.

Mr Satmiko pointed to the device's poor condition as evidence of the "extraordinary impact" of the crash.

"Our search is focused on the area around the discovery of the black box section yesterday to look for the fuselage, evacuating victims, while also looking for the cockpit voice recorder", the search agency said early Friday.

Searchers have yet to detect a location signal from the second of the two black boxes, housed at opposite ends of the aircraft. Though the depth in the area of the crash is only about 35 meters, strong currents and waves are making searches hard, he said.

A navy diver on board a search vessel told the broadcaster Metro TV that his team found the orange cylinder containing the recorder among debris on the muddy sea floor. The downloading of the data will take three weeks. But hopes are fading of finding a large section of fuselage intact with bodies, easily retrievable, inside. Lion Air boss Daniel Putut said the United States company needed to be asked: 'What's the matter with this new plane?'

Relatives are desperate to be able to say goodbye to their loved ones and the first funeral for one of the passengers held on Thursday. The flight then lost contact with air traffic control.

The investigation will be carried out with help from Boeing, General Electric and the US Federal Aviation Administration, officials have said.

The steel-encased memory unit of the recovered flight recorder had separated from its base plate, showing the plane hit the sea at tremendous speed, he said.

There is as yet no indication of what caused the crash but the aircraft is believed to have experienced technical problems on its previous flight.

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