Indonesia plane crash: 10 intact bodies recovered, US promises assistance

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Following the Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff on Monday morning, rescue personnel recovered ten intact bodies after working throughout the night, AP reported.

Rescuers in inflatable boats rounded up human remains, pieces of aircraft and personal belongings from the sea. Families of passengers and crew members gathered at crisis centres set up by the authorities at airports.

President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation and urged Indonesians to “keep on praying.” An official of Indonesia’s safety transport committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash, which would have to wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder are known.

The US has extended its deepest condolences for the victims. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Indonesia in this time of sorrow. Preparations are underway to assist the Indonesian government in its investigation of this tragic accident,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

“The Unites States extends its deepest condolences to those who lost family and loved ones in the October 29 plane crash in Indonesia,” she said in a statement.

The pilot of the plane was an Indian who died in the crash, confirmed the Indian Embassy in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Rescue Agency spokesman warned about hoax videos and photos doing rounds on social media and told the public not to believe in them.

Accordingly, the planehad  lost contact 13 minutes after takeoff. Debris thought to be from the plane, including aircraft seats, was found near an offshore refining facility in the Java Sea, an official of state energy firm Pertamina said.

The Boeing 737-800 departed the Indonesian capital about 6.20 a.m. for Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra. Data for Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following takeoff.

A telegram from the National Search and Rescue Agency to the air force had requested assistance with the search of a location at sea off Java. A report to the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cites the crew of a tug boat reporting a Lion Air flight falling from the sky. It said several vessels were headed to the location.

Lion Air aircraft had requested to return to base shortly before losing contact, Yohanes Sirait, a spokesman for the country’s air navigation authorities said, reported Reuters. “The (traffic) control allowed that, but then it lost contact,” Sirait added.

Reuters reported that preliminary flight tracking data from Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbed to around 5,000 feet (1,524 m) before losing, and then regaining, height, before finally falling towards the sea. It was last recorded at 3,650 feet (1,113 m) and its speed had risen to 345 knots, according to raw data captured by the respected tracking website, which could not immediately be confirmed. Its last recorded position was about 15 km (9 miles) north of the Indonesian coastline, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates reported by Flightradar24.

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