Indonesia Passenger Jet Crashes Into The Sea With 189 On Board
JAKARTA, Indonesia - A Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital Monday in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and U.S. Lion Air said the brand-new aircraft, on a 1-hour-and-10-minute flight to Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra, was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and eight crew members.
Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field. Distraught friends and relatives prayed and hugged each other as they waited at Pangkal Pinang's airport.
The National Search and Rescue Agency's deputy chief, Nugroho Budi Wiryanto, said divers had not been able to access the main body of the aircraft underwater, despite fair weather conditions. He said divers had only recovered personal belongings and debris from the aircraft, and were still trying to get into the body of the plane.
Wiryanto said search crews had been able to locate the plane's "black box" data recorder using the pings emitted by the device, and they were were trying to retrieve it.
The National Search and Rescue Agency's deputy chief, Nugroho Budi Wiryanto, said some 300 people including soldiers, police and local fishermen are involved in the search and that so far it has recovered no bodies -- only ID cards, personal belongings and aircraft debris.
"We are waiting for the miracle from God," said Wiryanto, when asked if there's any hope of survivors.
Shortly after, however, search and rescue officials confirmed that some human remains had been recovered from the water. A tweet from the national search and rescue agency showed six body bags containing the remains, which had been brought back to the airport.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.