Lion Air Crash: Diver dies looking for victims in airplane wreckage

Lion Air Crash: Diver dies looking for victims in airplane wreckage

48-year-old Syahrul Anto was found unconscious on Friday after his diver partner realized he had disappeared, said Muhammad Syaugi, head of the Indonesian search and rescue agency.

He was immediately landed and accompanied by doctors, but Syaugi said that "God had a different plan."

Anto was a skilled, experienced diver "who gave his life for our country," said Syaugi.

Almost a week after Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the sea, the search for victims continues as investigators and agencies around the world continue to battle the mystery of the deadly incident.

The divers located the flight data recorder on Thursday, but investigators say they could not download information from him because "there are some broken parts" in the device, according to the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission.

Haryo Satmiko, Deputy Chief of the Agency, said on Saturday that Boeing and the US National Board Safety Board would fly special equipment to Indonesia to assist local authorities in obtaining this valuable information.

The unfortunate flight data recorder of the Lion Air JT 610 flight was recovered on 1 November from the Java Sea.

The recorder, commonly referred to as a black box, contains information on how the aircraft's systems evolved in the moments before the crash.

The authorities had hoped the discovery of the recorder would help explain why the new Boeing 737 crashed. All 189 people were killed on board. However, it is unclear whether they can find clues.

An aviation officer with knowledge of the crash investigation had told CNN on Friday that the recorder was so deeply immersed in water that it was difficult to get the data from it.

A second device, a cockpit dictation machine that is still missing, could help investigators put together the last moments of the brand-new aircraft.

Divers in the Java Sea have been searching the device for days without luck in fast-moving currents and muddy waters.

Muhammad Syauqi Syauqi, head of the Indonesian search and rescue agency, said his team did not hear any pings from the cockpit voice recorder. The dictation machine could be located in the seabed about 35 meters from the surface and be covered by debris or covered by mud.

Analysts say the search for the cockpit voice recorder is imperative to determine if the crash will impact other airlines operating thousands of Boeing 737 flights worldwide each day.

"We need to know if there is a Lion Air problem, a specific problem for this aircraft, or if 737 is a common problem," said Geoffrey Thomas, chief editor of airline rating agency Airlineratings.com.

Divers are still combing through debris

The wheels of the jetliner were recovered on Friday and an aircraft turbine located on the seabed is the largest debris found by divers.

A wheel of the crashed Lion Air Flight JT610 was pulled out of the sea by the Indonesian authorities on November 2, 2018.

Most of the debris of the aircraft remains deep in the water and it is so shaken that analysts say that the recovery of the hull is likely to be done by hand or with nets.

David Soucie, an aviation security analyst for CNN, said another major challenge for divers would be to identify and separate body parts from other wastes.

"They look at the insulation and the backrests, the seat cushions can easily be confused with body parts and vice versa," said Soucie.

Only one victim was identified

Flight 610 was scheduled to take its passengers from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on Bangka Island for a one-hour drive. Instead, it crashed 13 minutes after the start. The pilots had asked for the turnaround but did not send an emergency call.

At least 65 body bags have been collected since the beginning of the search and rescue operation, although each bag could contain remains of more than one person.

The shoes, purses and backpacks of children confirm the fate of the Lion Air victims

Investigators rely on DNA samples to identify victims based on the condition and size of the found remains. The police have received 181 DNA samples from victims' families and are working to assign them to 272 human tissue samples.

Lisda Cancer, director of the Disaster Victim Identification, told reporters on Friday that so far only one person had been identified – a woman is confirmed by a fingerprint.

On Wednesday, the authorities brought relatives to the port to identify victims' personal belongings, piled up next to cushions and other garbage that seemed to come from the plane.

Epi Syamsul Qomar, whose 24-year-old son was on the run, burst into tears when he recognized his son's shoe.

"I saw my son's black sneaker," he told CNN. "I also saw his checkbook."

Pilot reported on aircraft problems

The plane had experienced technical problems the day before on another route, passengers on this flight told CNN.

"I thought it might have been caused by turbulence – after 10 minutes in the air, the plane dropped as if it was losing power – people panicked about 400 feet," Gaharu said, adding that he had the amount of waste confirms a flight tracking website. He said the drop felt like it was falling into a really deep hole.

Lion Air confirmed to CNN that the plane that had crashed on Monday was flown the previous day on the JT43 Bali-Jakarta route, and the Indonesian authorities confirmed that the Sunday flight pilot had reported a problem with one of the aircraft's instruments ,

Captain Daniel Putut Kuncoro Adi, CEO of the Lion Group, said that all information had been handed over to the National Traffic Safety Commission of Indonesia and he was unable to answer any questions regarding the error, as a non-disclosure agreement was signed to support the investigation.

CNN's Eric Levenson, Masrur Jamaluddin, Yosef Riadi, Edi Amin and Nicole Chavez all contributed to the report.

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