Shoes and bags of passengers of the Lion Air plane (Photo: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The search and rescue team has found an object believed to be the fuselage of the Lion Air plane which crashed into waters off Karawang in West Java province of Indonesia, said the country’s military chief Hadi Tjahjanto on October 31.

“We strongly believe that we have found a part of the fuselage of flight JT610,” Hadi Tjahjanto told the live broadcast on Indonesia’s TV One.

The team had the location coordinates of the wreckage but has been trying to confirm it was indeed the fuselage, he added.

Indonesia has deployed “pinger locators” to locate the plane's blackboxes at the crash site. According to the deputy chief of the national transport safety panel Haryo Satmiko, the search team had heard a ping sound at 35m below sea lever on the afternoon of October 30. The team returned back to dive at the location at 5am the following morning, he said.

The passenger jet, a Boeing 737 Max 8 coded JT610, was en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on Bangka Island in the early morning of October 29, carrying 189 people onboard. It lost contact with the air traffic control just 13 minutes after takeoff. 

Data shows that the plane might have crashed into the sea from the height of over 1,000m and a speed of about 640km per hour. It is likely there were no survivors from the accident.

A total of 812 people have been deployed for the search and rescue operations, including 60 divers alongside governmental staff, volunteers, and Red Cross workers. The mission has seen the participation of many forces, including the Indonesian navy and the National Transportation Safety Committee, while a team of Singaporean experts have also visited the crash site to assist searching efforts.

The search will continue over the next three days.

As of October 30, rescuers at the crash site off the waters of Karawang, West Java, sent a total 37 bags containing victims’ body parts for DNA testing. Personal items, including 52 identification cards, passports, and bank cards, were also found.–VNA