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No sign of survivors in Indonesian plane crash

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Oct. 29, 2018 at 6:56 AM CDT
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A search and rescue agency official said he's not expecting any survivors from the Lion Air plane that crashed into seas off Jakarta with 189 people aboard.

The operations director at the agency, Bambang Suryo Aji, said the search effort is focusing on finding bodies. He said six body bags have been used so far for human remains recovered.

Aji said the location of the plane hull hasn't been identified yet. Waters where it sank are up to 100 feet deep.

Indonesian aviation and transport safety officials say the plane had been cleared by air traffic controllers to return to Jakarta's airport following a request from its pilot about two to three minutes after takeoff.

The plane, which was delivered to Lion Air in August, crashed about 13 minutes after taking off.

Novie Riyanto, the head of AirNav, which manages air traffic in Indonesia, said the pilot made a "RTB" or return to base request "just two or three minutes after it took off and the ATC has approved."

At the same news conference, a Lion Air official said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.

Lion Air's president said the plane that crashed into the sea Monday had a technical problem on its last flight that was resolved.

Airline President Edward Sirait said Monday the technical problem on Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was resolved in accordance with the manufacturer's procedures. He wasn't more specific but said the problem on the earlier flight would be part of the investigation of Monday's crash.

Boeing said it is "deeply saddened" by the crash of a Lion Air plane off the Indonesian coast and offered to help with the investigation.

The Chicago-based planemaker said it is prepared to provide technical assistance into the crash probe, which will be carried out by Indonesian investigators.

In its statement, Boeing Co. expressed its concern for the 189 people onboard, and offered "heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones."

The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.

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