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The authorities confirmed that the pilot requested permission to return to the airport of origin, but the plane could not complete the maneuver and flew over the sea.
Indonesian authorities are searching for the remains of the victims of the low-cost Lion Air plane that rushed over the sea, with virtually no hope of finding survivors among the 189 people on board.
The director of operations of the Indonesian search and rescue agency (Basarnas), Agus Hariono, said that they have found parts of the bodies of some of the people who were travelling aboard the Boeing 737, which crashed in the Java Sea a few minutes after take off from the airport of the capital with 181 passengers and eight crew.
For his part, Brigadier General Bambang Suryo Aji said in statements to local media that he believes that “nobody has survived,” according to the remains found in the area of the accident.
Remains of the plane and some of the occupants’ belongings were found about eight kilometres east of Cape Tanjung Karawang, located in the eastern part of Jakarta Bay.
However, most of the aircraft’s fuselage has not yet been found and only 6 bodies have been removed from the water, according to Bambang.
About 160 rescue personnel, who have come from the provinces of Jakarta, Lampung and Bandung in several ships and helicopters, are looking for the victims of the accident and the black boxes of the plane with divers and underwater vehicles by remote control between 35 and 60 meters of depth.
The rescue operations will last one week and will be extended 3 days later if necessary.
The device, identified as JT 610, disappeared from the radars 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta airport at 0620 local times (23.20 GMT Sunday) to Pangkal Pinang, on the island of Bangka (north).
Before crashing, the pilot requested the return to the airfield of the Indonesian capital, but did not send an emergency signal, said the authorities, who are still awaiting information from the black boxes.
Between the two pilots, they added about 11,000 hours of flight and the plane was relatively new since it started operating in mid-August and had about 800 hours of service.
The executive director of Lion Air, Edward Sirait, revealed that the aircraft presented technical problems after a previous flight last Sunday that were solved and the plane was approved to fly “by a certified engineer, ” he told a news conference.
Founded in 1999, Lion Air, the largest low-cost airline in Indonesia, has had half a dozen minor accidents and one fatal accident, the one that happened in 2004 in the city of Solo and where 25 people perished.
In June 2016, the European Union withdrew the Indonesian company from its blacklist of aviation security.