Possible seabed position of crashed Lion Air jet located

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A massive search effort has identified the possible seabed location of the crashed Lion Air jet, Indonesia's military chief said Wednesday, as experts carried out the grim task of identifying dozens of body parts recovered from a 15-nautical mile-wide search area, and chilling video of passengers boarding the fatal flight emerged.

The 2-month-old Boeing plane plunged into the Java Sea on Monday just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

"This morning I've been briefed by the head of Search and Rescue Agency about the strong possibility of the location coordinates" of Flight 610, said armed forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto. "Hopefully that is the main body of the plane that we've been looking for."

Separately, the head of the National Transportation Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono, told reporters that pings detected by search teams are definitely from the aircraft's flight recorder because of their regular interval.

The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and U.S. blacklists, and also raised doubts about the safety of Boeing's new generation 737 MAX 8 plane.

Boeing Co. experts are expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday and Lion Air has said an "intense" internal investigation is underway in addition to the probe by safety regulators.

Navy officer Haris Djoko Nugroho said the 22-meter (72-foot) -long object that could be part of the fuselage is at a depth of 32 meters (105 feet). He said divers will be deployed after side-scan sonar has produced more detailed images. He said it was first located on Tuesday evening.

"There are some small objects that we found, but last night, thank God, we found a large enough object," he said.

24 PHOTOS
Indonesia flight crashes after taking off
See Gallery
Indonesia flight crashes after taking off
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 29: Search and rescue workers move the remains of a victim of the Lion Air flight JT 610 into a waiting ambulance at the Tanjung Priok port on October 29, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Lion Air Flight JT 610 crashed shortly after take-off with no sign so far of survivors among the 189 people on board the plane. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)
Debris from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ADEK BERRY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of passengers prays as she and others wait for news on a Lion Air plane that crashed off Java Island at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. Indonesia disaster agency says that the Lion Air Boeing 737-800 plane crashed into sea shortly after it left Indonesia's capital Monday morning. (AP Photo/Hadi Sutrisno)
Members of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) carry body bags containing the remains recovered from the area where a Lion Air passenger jet is suspected to crash, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
A member of Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) inspects debris believed to be from Lion Air passenger jet that crashed off Java Island at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Rescuers search for victims of a Lion Air passenger jet that crashed in the waters off Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Members of Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) inspect debris recovered from near the waters where a Lion Air passenger jet is suspected to crash, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Customers sit near a Lion Air counter at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and the U.S. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Relatives of passengers arrive at Lion Air's crisis center at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and the U.S. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
A man takes photo of the list of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. The Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
A relative of passengers weeps as she arrives at Lion Air's crisis center at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
A relative of passengers arrive at Lion Air's crisis center at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Lion Air flight crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on 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. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Relatives comfort each other at the crisis center at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Boeing Co. 737 Max jet, operated by Indonesia's Lion Air, crashed in the Java Sea with 189 people on board, making it the model's first accident and potentially the worst commercial aviation disaster in three years. Photographer: Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Search and rescue team members look at debris recovered from the crash site on the dockside at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Boeing Co. 737 Max jet, operated by Indonesia's Lion Air, crashed in the Java Sea with 189 people on board, making it the model's first accident and potentially the worst commercial aviation disaster in three years. Photographer: Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Search and rescue team members carry a body recovered from the crash on the dockside at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Boeing Co. 737 Max jet, operated by Indonesia's Lion Air, crashed in the Java Sea with 189 people on board, making it the model's first accident and potentially the worst commercial aviation disaster in three years. Photographer: Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Debris recovered from the crash site sits on the dockside at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. A Boeing Co. 737 Max jet, operated by Indonesia's Lion Air, crashed in the Java Sea with 189 people on board, making it the model's first accident and potentially the worst commercial aviation disaster in three years. Photographer: Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An undergarment believed to belong to a passenger on board the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ADEK BERRY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indonesian boatman takes pictures as debris from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ADEK BERRY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
A boat sails in the background as debris from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ADEK BERRY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
A shoe believed to belong to a passenger on board the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ADEK BERRY / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel transfer a bag containing human remains into an ambulance at port in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, on October 29, 2018, after being recovered at sea following the crash of Lion Air flight JT 610. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by RESMI MALAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read RESMI MALAU/AFP/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 29 : Members of a rescue team bring personal items and wreckage ashore at the port in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, 2018, after they were recovered from the sea where Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed off the north coast earlier in the day. - A brand new Indonesian Lion Air plane carrying 189 passengers and crew crashed into the sea on October 29, officials said, moments after it had asked to be allowed to return to Jakarta. (Photo credit should read Jepayona Delita / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 29 : Members of a rescue team bring personal items and wreckage ashore at the port in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, 2018, after they were recovered from the sea where Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed off the north coast earlier in the day. - A brand new Indonesian Lion Air plane carrying 189 passengers and crew crashed into the sea on October 29, officials said, moments after it had asked to be allowed to return to Jakarta. (Photo credit should read Jepayona Delita / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A wallet belonging to a passenger of the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province, on October 29, 2018. - All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were 'likely' killed in the accident, the search and rescue agency said on October 29, as it announced it had found human remains. (Photo by ARIF ARIADI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ARIF ARIADI/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Data from flight-tracking sites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude in the early minutes of a flight on Sunday and on its fatal flight Monday. Safety experts caution, however, that the data must be checked for accuracy against the plane's black boxes, which officials are confident will be recovered.

Several passengers on the Sunday flight from Bali to Jakarta have recounted problems that included a long-delayed takeoff for an engine check and terrifying descents in the first 10 minutes in the air.

Two interviewed on Indonesian TV recalled details such as a strange engine sound, a smell of burnt cables, and panicked passengers crying out for God to save them as the plane rapidly lost altitude. Later in the flight, a man who was either the captain or first officer walked through the plane and returned to the cockpit with what looked like a large manual.

Lion Air has said maintenance was carried out on the aircraft after the Sunday flight and a problem, which it didn't specify, was fixed.

Officials said searchers have sent 48 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts.

Anguished family members have been providing samples for DNA tests and police say results are expected within 4-8 days.

Musyafak, the head of Said Sukanto Police Hospital, said nearly 150 samples for testing have been collected but more are still needed, especially from parents and children of victims.

Indonesian TV broadcast a smartphone video of passengers boarding Flight 610, its mundane details transformed into unsettling moments by knowledge of the tragedy that would transpire.

It showed passengers' boarding passes being checked and people walking along a concourse and then down stairs with bright red and white Lion Air jets visible on the tarmac.

At one point, the passenger who shot the video, Paul Ferdinand Ayorbaba, zooms in on the flight number on his boarding pass. A part of the video shows passengers walking up the mobile boarding stairs attached to a Lion jet.

"My husband sent that video to me via WhatsApp. It was his last contact with me, his last message to me," said Inchy Ayorbaba, interviewed at the Jakarta police hospital where she had taken her three children for DNA tests.

The messaging app's timestamps showed the video was sent about 35 minutes before the plane took off, said Ayorbaba, who first saw the message at 6:30 a.m., some 10 minutes after the plane departed, and then went back to sleep.

Indonesia's Transport Ministry has ordered all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes operated by Lion Air and national carrier Garuda to be inspected. Lion has ordered 50 of the jets, worth an estimated $6.2 billion, and currently operates nine.

Boeing declined to comment about potential inspections globally.

The aircraft manufacturer told airlines in a bulletin, "Boeing has no recommended operator action at this time," according to two people familiar with the matter.

Lion Air President Edward Sirait told The Associated Press that the timing of a meeting with Boeing experts is still uncertain. Daniel Putut, a Lion Air managing director, said Tuesday evening the airline hopes to meet with Boeing officials on Wednesday afternoon.

"Of course there are lots of things we will ask them, we all have question marks here, 'Why? What's the matter with this new plane,'" Putut said.

The crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died in the crash of a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The U.S. lifted a decadelong ban in 2016.

Lion Air, a discount carrier, is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

___

Associated Press journalists Andi Jatmiko in Jakarta, Indonesia, and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.