Indonesia extends Lion Air crash search

Indonesia extends Lion Air crash search

More than 100 body bags of human remains had been recovered.

Syachrul Anto, 48, died on Friday while diving to search for victims of the crashed Lion Air aircraft, the agency said on Saturday.

Anto was found unconscious by other members of the team and taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead, reportedly due to complications from uncontrolled decompression.

"We chose to extend it three days" beginning on Monday, search and rescue agency (Basarnas) chief Muhammad Syaugi said at a news conference.

He said: "So we can confirm that the impact was high energy that caused the plane to be highly fragmented, broken into small pieces".

"We have also made some major discoveries".

The brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta early on October 29, killing all 189 people on board and baffling aviation experts.

As of Sunday a total of 105 body bags, few containing intact remains, had been recovered and handed to police for forensic identification, yet only seven victims had been identified.

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

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Video shared with Reuters, shows debris from the wreckage, as divers hunt for a second black box that could help determine what went fatally wrong.

"Shortly after requesting RTB, the pilot then contacted the control tower again to inform that the plane had run normally and would not return" to Bali's Ngurah Rai airport on Sunday, Herson, who uses a single name, told The Associated Press.

Lion Air's admission that the doomed jet had a technical issue on a previous flight - as well its abrupt fatal dive - have raised questions about whether it had mechanical faults specific to the new model.

"The now operating Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft have been inspected and we will continue to monitor and supervise closely, day by day, and if it is found to be significant we will do another inspection and ground them if needed".

So far only one passenger has been identified from partial remains.

Both Lion-owned planes required new components, it said.

While victims' relatives are desperate to know what happened, the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan.

Indonesian divers are hunting for a second black box from the aircraft that crashed into the sea this week with the loss of all 189 people on board, as investigators tried to get data from a partly damaged recorder already found. The US lifted a decade-long ban in 2016.

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