A team searching for Indonesia’s Lion Air Flight JT610 heard a “pinging sound” late Tuesday, possibly indicating they may have located part of the doomed airliner’s fuselage off Jakarta’s coast. The Boeing 737 Max 8 jet, a plane put into service not long ago, plunged into the Java Sea moments after takeoff early Monday.
There were 189 people on board and they are all presumed dead.
Indonesia’s military chief has said he believes the Flight JT610 has been found.
“We strongly believe that we have found a part of the fuselage of JT610,” Hadi Tjahjanto told an Indonesian TV station.
“Pinger locators” are being used to try to locate the so-called “black boxes” containing the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, according to the Reuters news agency.
“Yesterday afternoon, the team had heard a ping sound in a location at 35 meters depth,” Haryo Satmiko, the deputy chief of the national transport safety panel, told Reuters, referring to a depth of 115 feet.
Recovery crews in Indonesia have been finding bodies and debris over the last couple days, but the cause of Monday’s crash is still unknown. Lion Air’s president admitted the aircraft, delivered in August, had a “technical issue” in its previous flight Sunday but insisted the problem was fixed.
Late Tuesday, news of 13 more body bags have been sent for DNA analysis, bringing the total to 37 so far.
Indonesian transportation officials are looking into imposing sanctions on Lion Air operations following the fatal crash. This is the first crash involving the Boeing 737 Max 8, one of the company’s most advanced jets.
Indonesia’s troubled aviation history
The crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea in December 2014, killing all 162 on board.
Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 were 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 this year. 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.
In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing on the resort island of Bali, crashing into the sea without causing any fatalities among the 108 people on board.