In­done­sia stops search for vic­tims of Lion Air crash

Gulf Times - - ASIA/AUSTRALASIA -

In­done­sia au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day they had stopped the search for vic­tims of a plane crash that killed all 189 peo­ple on board, but would keep look­ing for the Lion Air flight’s sec­ond black box, the cock­pit voice recorder.

“There is nowhere left to search and we have stopped find­ing vic­tims’ bod­ies,” Muhamed Syaugi, the head of the na­tional search and res­cue agency (Basar­nas) told me­dia. “We will limit our op­er­a­tions to mon­i­tor­ing.”

The nearly new Boe­ing Co 737 MAX pas­sen­ger plane crashed into the sea on Oc­to­ber 29 just min­utes af­ter tak­ing off from Jakarta en route to Bangka is­land near Su­ma­tra.

Syaugi said 196 body bags con­tain­ing hu­man re­mains had been re­trieved and 77 vic­tims iden­ti­fied af­ter foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion.

Au­thor­i­ties have down­loaded data from one of the black boxes found last week, the flight data recorder, but are still look­ing for the cock­pit voice recorder.

Soear­janto Tjahjono, the head of the trans­porta­tion safety com­mit­tee (KNKT), said find­ing the voice recorder would be crit­i­cal to un­der­stand­ing the cause of the crash.

“From the black box data, we know about 70-80% of

“There is nowhere left to search and we have stopped find­ing vic­tims’ bod­ies ... We will limit our op­er­a­tions to mon­i­tor­ing”

what hap­pened but to 100% un­der­stand the cause of the ac­ci­dent... we need be able to know the con­ver­sa­tion that took place in the plane’s cock­pit,” he said, declining to elab­o­rate on what the flight data recorder had re­vealed.

KNKT has brought in a pinger lo­ca­tor and a ves­sel ca­pa­ble of suck­ing up mud to help with the search for the voice recorder, in ad­di­tion to re­motely op­er­ated un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cles equipped with cam­eras.

Tjahjono said he was wor­ried the cock­pit voice recorder may have been dam­aged on im­pact be­cause KNKT had yet to de­tect any “ping” sounds that would in­di­cate its lo­ca­tion, as had hap­pened with the first black box.

He said au­thor­i­ties were search­ing for 15 air­craft parts, in­clud­ing an “an­gle of at­tack” sen­sor on the air­craft, which helps the plane’s com­put­ers un­der­stand if the air­craft is sta­ble. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have said one of these sen­sors had pro­vided er­ro­neous data.

KNKT said that there was a prob­lem with the sen­sor on the pre­vi­ous flight taken by the doomed plane from the is­land of Bali to Jakarta. One sen­sor had been re­placed in Bali.

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