Official: Divers see Lion Air jet fuselage, new 'ping' heard

Published 11-03-2018

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Divers reported seeing the fuselage and engines of the crashed Lion Air jet on the seafloor and a ping locator has detected a signal that may be from the cockpit voice recorder, Indonesia's search and rescue chief said Saturday.

Speaking on the sixth day of the search, Muhammad Syaugi said that two engines and more landing gear had been found. The plane crashed in waters 30 meters (98 feet) deep but strong currents have hampered the search.

"I haven't seen it myself but I got information from some divers that they have seen the fuselage," he said at a news conference at a Jakarta port where body bags, debris and passenger belongings are first taken.

The brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta early on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board. Local media reported Saturday that the search effort had claimed the life of a diver on Friday evening.

The flight data recorder was recovered on Thursday and Syaugi said a "low ping signal" was detected by a sonar locator that could be the black box voice recorder.

Divers and a remotely operated vehicle have been searching the suspected location since Saturday morning.

Flight tracking websites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude during its 13 minute flight Monday and a previous flight on Sunday from Bali to Jakarta. Passengers on Sunday's flight reported terrifying descents and in both cases the different cockpit crews requested to return to their departure airport shortly after takeoff.

Lion has claimed a technical problem was fixed after Sunday's fight. Investigators are still attempting to retrieve information from the flight data recorder's "crash survivable memory unit" that will help determine the cause of the disaster. It has been damaged and requires special handling, they say.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe becau

Flight tracking websites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude during its 13 minute flight Monday and a previous flight on Sunday from Bali to Jakarta. Passengers on Sunday's flight reported terrifying descents and in both cases the different cockpit crews requested to return to their departure airport shortly after takeoff.

Lion has claimed a technical problem was fixed after Sunday's fight. Investigators are still attempting to retrieve information from the flight data recorder's "crash survivable memory unit" that will help determine the cause of the disaster. It has been damaged and requires special handling, they say.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The U.S. lifted a decadelong ban in 2016.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

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This story corrects the spelling of the official's name in the fifth paragraph to Syaugi.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The U.S. lifted a decadelong ban in 2016.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

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This story corrects the spelling of the official's name in the fifth paragraph to Syaugi.

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Rescuers carry body bags containing the remains of the victims of Lion Air crash at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. New details about the crashed aircraft previous flight have cast more doubt on the Indonesian airline's claim to have fixed technical problems as hundreds of personnel searched the sea a fifth day Friday for victims and the plane's fuselage. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) - The Associated Press


Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi, center, gestures as he speaks to the media at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. New details about the crashed Lion Air jet's previous flight cast more doubt on the Indonesian airline's claim to have fixed technical problems, as hundreds of personnel searched the sea for a fifth day Friday for victims and the plane's fuselage. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) - The Associated Press


An investigator inspect debris from Lion Air flight JT 610 that crashed into the Java sea on Monday, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. New details about the crashed aircraft previous flight have cast more doubt on the Indonesian airline's claim to have fixed technical problems as hundreds of personnel searched the sea a fifth day Friday for victims and the plane's fuselage. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) - The Associated Press


Indonesian President Joko Widodo, second right, congratulates navy divers who found the flight data recorder from the crashed Lion Air jet as Armed Forces Chief Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto, right, looks on during their visit to the main command post of the search mission for the victims at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. New details about the crashed aircraft previous flight have cast more doubt on the Indonesian airline's claim to have fixed technical problems as hundreds of personnel searched the sea a fifth day Friday for victims and the plane's fuselage. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) - The Associated Press