Lion Air Crash: Indonesia Expands Search for Fuselage, Flight Data Recorders
Indonesia has expanded the search-and-rescue operation for the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed early Monday morning in the Java Sea. On Tuesday, the search area was widened by 400 nautical miles.
The Lion Air plane, registered PK-LQP, lost contact with air traffic controllers and plummeted into the sea just after dawn on Monday. All 189 people on board are presumed dead.
Although parts of flight JT610's aircraft debris have been recovered from the sea, along with passengers' personal belongings and at least 24 bodies, the main fuselage has yet to be located. Search-and-rescue teams will work round the clock as they not only look for the plane, but also work to recover the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders, which will provide more information on the pilots' conversations, as well as additional flight data, to help determine why the plane crashed.
Indonesia's national search-and-rescue agency Basarnas said on Twitter that it will divide the search area among helicopters, ships and sonar devices. The helicopters reportedly will focus on scanning the 737 MAX 8's likely crash point, according to Flight Global. Underwater robots and multibeam echosounders will simultaneously work beneath the sea to locate the wreckage.
Divers have recovered at least 24 bodies, CNN reports, which were taken to a nearby hospital to be identified using DNA from passengers' family members.
Indonesia's transportation ministry ordered inspections Tuesday of all 737 MAX 8 aircraft belonging to the country's national airlines. Indonesian transportation officials told CNN that Lion Air has 11 other MAX 8s, and carrier Garuda Indonesia has one of the aircraft.
"We have inspected Garuda last night while Lion is still in progress," Capt. Avirianto, a transportation ministry official, told CNN. The result of the Garuda MAX 8 inspection was not immediately made clear. Avirianto also said officials are aiming to inspect at least three of the remaining Lion Air 737 models on Tuesday.