Senior Indonesian rescue diver dies in jet crash search

JAKARTA, Nov 3 (Reuters) - An Indonesian rescue diver died in a search operation for a jet that crashed early this week near Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board, the search and rescue agency (Basarnas) said on Saturday.

Syachrul Anto, 48, died on Friday while diving to search for victims of the crashed Lion Air aircraft, the agency said on Saturday.

"Deepest condolences for the passing of a humanitarian hero from the Indonesian Diving Rescue Team," Basarnas chief Muhammad Syaugi said in a news release.

It was not immediately clear how Anto perished. Anto's family had chosen not to conduct an autopsy and asked for his remains to be buried immediately, Basarnas spokesman Yusuf Latif told Reuters by text message.

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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)
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Among other missions, Anto was also one of the main divers involved in the search for an AirAsia jet that crashed off Borneo in late 2014.

Rescue divers have been crucial in recovering human remains and pieces of the wrecked near-new Boeing Co. 737 MAX that smashed into the sea early on Monday, 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta.

As of Saturday a total of 73 body bags, few containing intact remains, had been recovered, but only four of the victims had been identified.

Divers have been searching through debris on the muddy sea bed for a second black box from the jet, as investigators try to get data from a partly damaged recorder recovered on Thursday.

The pilot of flight JT610 had asked for, and received, permission to turn back to Jakarta, but what went wrong remains a mystery.

"The team have been hearing the 'ping' sound from another black box for two days," Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of the transportation safety committee (KNKT), told Reuters on Friday.

The sea is only 98 ft deep at the crash site but strong currents and nearby pipelines have hampered the search.

Visiting the search operation headquarters at Jakarta's port on Friday, President Joko Widodo thanked rescue officials and the military involved and appealed for them to step up the search.

"I ask for you to use all your might, all the technology available, to work fast to find anything else," he said.

While victims' relatives are desperate to know what happened, the investigation of the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry. Preliminary investigation findings are expected to be made public after 30 days.

Indonesia is one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets but its safety record has been patchy. Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.

"There's still a lot we need to improve," Air Transportation Director General Pramintohadi Sukarno said at a press conference on Saturday, referring to safety rules. (Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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