Diver dies as search for Lion Air’s second black box continues
The tragedy of Lion Air’s Flight JT610 has claimed another life. An Indonesian rescue diver died in a search operation for the passenger plane that plunged into the sea off Jakarta on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board. Despite the loss, search and rescue efforts have been extended, as authorities believe they are close to finding the second “black box” from the crashed Boeing 737 MAX.
Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) confirmed a rescue diver, Syachrul Anto, aged 48, died on November 2, 2018, during a search mission for victims of the crashed Lion Air plane, Reuters reports. The cause of his death has not been revealed
In a statement, Basarnas chief, Muhammad Syaugi, expressed his condolences upon the passing of the diver, calling him a “humanitarian hero”. Anto was one of the main divers involved in the search for Indonesia’s AirAsia jet that crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo with 162 people on board in December 2014.
Rescue divers have been recovering human remains, personal belongings and pieces of the wrecked aircraft that plunged into the sea near Jakarta just 13 minutes after take-off. The brand-new Boeing 737 MAX had crashed in shallow coastal waters that are 30 to 40 meters (98 to 115 feet) deep, CNN informs.
The main body of the jet has not yet been discovered and there is little indication a large section of the plane's submerged fuselage would be left intact. Divers have been scouring a 270 square mile search area since the crash. Over 150 divers are now working at the site.
Due to the very fact that the main wreckage is still missing and that many of the victim’s remains had not been recovered, on of November 4, 2018, Basarnas announced that search and evacuation operations would be extended for three more days.
By November 6, 2018, the body bag count had risen to a total of 164. They mostly contained body parts but also aircraft debris and personal items presumed to belong to the victims. Meanwhile, at the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta, the National Police’s victim identification team had a total of 27 bodies identified.
Back at the Java Sea, strong currents and waves as well as poor visibility due to the muddy sea bed have hampered search efforts, which are being assisted by underwater drone and sonar technology.
But in a major breakthrough, on November 1, 2018, Indonesian Navy divers recovered one of the 737’s flight recorders or so-called “black bloxes”. The device had reportedly been found buried in half a meter of mud.
Although initially unclear, it has been confirmed that the partly damaged device is the JT610’s flight data recorder. According to The Guardian, investigators managed to retrieved data from the device, revealing the Boeing 737 MAX plane experienced problems with its airspeed indicators on its last four flights.
Meanwhile, the hunt for the second “black box” – the cockpit voice recorder – continues. “We are finding bigger parts as opposed to only small debris yesterday,” Syaugi was quoted as saying by Bloomberg the day after the discovery of the first recorder. “Now, we are searching at the right spot,” he added. A part of the landing gear and both of the plane’s engines have since been raised from the sea.
The search and rescue agency said on November 4, 2018, they had detected faint “ping” signals presumably coming from the aircraft, which they expect will lead divers to the recorder, Reuters reported.
An Indonesian rescue team had reportedly already picked up the “pings” on October 30, 2018. It is unclear whether it was these signals that led rescuers to the first “black box” – the flight data recorder, or are they the ones investigators are following now, in search of the second – the cockpit voice recorder.
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