11 July 2024

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian rescuers retrieved body parts on Monday after a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from the capital, Jakarta, a spokesman said.

The pilot of the plane, which was carrying 189 people, had requested to return to base before it lost contact 13 minutes into the flight.

Rescue workers are trying to find the main body of the plane after finding debris and aircraft parts floating on the surface of the Java Sea.

The chief executive of Lion Air, Edward Sirait, said that the ill-fated plane had a technical problem on a previous flight, but it had been resolved according to procedure.

“This plane previously flew from Denpasar to Cengkareng (Jakarta). There was a report of a technical issue which had been resolved according to procedure,” said Sirait but declined to specify the nature of the technical issue.

He said Lion has operated 11 aircraft of the same model, the Boeing 737 Max 8, and the other planes did not have the same technical problem. Sirait said there was no plan to ground the rest of its Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet.

“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” search and rescue agency head Muhmmad Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency transmitter.

“We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”

At least 23 government officials, four employees of state tin miner PT Timah and 3 employees of a Timah subsidiary were on the plane. A Lion Air official said on Italian passenger and one Indian pilot were on board.