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Indonesian officials said Wednesday that search-and-rescue teams have likely found the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that plummeted Monday into the Java Sea.
The Indonesian Navy says a 72-foot-long object has been located on the seabed of the search area and could possibly be part of the plane’s fuselage, which measures a total of 105 feet in length. The object was first found by searchers on Tuesday night. Navy officer Haris Djoko Nugroho told the AP that after clearer sonar images of the item are obtained, divers will be deployed to inspect it.
“There are some small objects that we found, but last night, thank God, we found a large enough object,” the officer said. Teams have retrieved aircraft debris and passengers’ personal items, and they also have made the grisly discovery of at least 48 body parts, but the main fuselage had so far remained missing.
The head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee also said that steady pings that have been detected are “definitely” from the flight data recorder because of their regular pattern. The pings are coming in at steady intervals of less than one second. But, strong currents have so far prevented the flight data recorder, also called a black box, from being retrieved, the chief of the search-and-rescue agency said. The currents are complicating the entire search effort, he said.
According to the flight tracking site FlightRadar24, Lion Air flight 610 showed irregularities in its speed and altitude leading up to the crash. The flight recorder will verify and help shed additional light on why the plane went down.
Experts from Boeing are set to arrive in Indonesia later on Wednesday to assist safety regulators with the crash investigation. According to the AP, the aircraft manufacturer sent out a bulletin to US airlines stating that “Boeing has no recommended operator action at this time,” regarding carriers with its MAX aircraft in their fleets.
Indonesia has ordered all other Boeing aircraft of the 737 MAX 8 generation be inspected. Lion Air told the AP it is also performing its own internal investigations into the crash.
The 737 MAX 8 that plunged into the sea was less than two months old and had only operated 800 flight hours. The crash killed all 189 people on board, and it is the first total loss of a Boing 737 MAX aircraft.
Officials say that a preliminary crash report will likely be available in a month, with the full report ready after about four to six months of investigating.
Featured image by Eddy Purwanto/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
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