Indonesia plane crash victim named as search for Sriwijaya Air black box intensifies in Java Sea
A 29-year-old flight attendant has been named as the first victim of the Indonesian plane crash that saw a Sriwijaya Air plane plunge into the Java Sea, with 62 people on board.
- Cabin crew member Okky Bisma was identified by his fingerprints
- Searchers sent 17 body bags containing human remains to identification experts.
- Investigators have yet to locate the Boeing 737-500’s black boxes after two days of searching
The Boeing 737-500 jet crashed minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s main airport during heavy rain on Saturday.
Divers scoured the sea bed yesterday, looking for the plane’s cockpit recorders.
They retrieved human remains, personal possessions and pieces of plane wreckage until fading light ended the search, emergency officials said.
Okky Bisma, a member of the plane’s cabin crew, was identified by his fingerprints, a police official told reporters.
Searchers sent 17 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts.
The plane was on a domestic flight to Pontianak on Borneo island, 740 kilometres from Jakarta, before it disappeared from radar screens.
More than a dozen helicopters, 53 navy ships and 20 boats, and 2,600 rescue personnel have been searching since Sunday.
Divers are using high-tech ping-locator equipment to look for an identified target beneath 20 metres of seabed mud.
Signals from the boxes containing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were detected between Lancang and Laki islands in the Thousand Island chain just north of Jakarta.
Officials said they have marked a location where the sounds were being emitted from the black boxes, which detached from the tail of the aircraft when it landed in the sea.
“There is so much debris down there and we have only lifted a few pieces,” said navy chief of staff Yudo Margono, who said a remote-controlled vehicle was aiding the sea-bed search.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), said the jet may have been intact before it hit the sea, given the debris appeared to have scattered in a relatively tight area underwater.
No ‘unnatural destruction or explosion’
Once the flight data and cockpit voice recorders are found, the KNKT expects to be able to read the information in three days.
“[The aircraft] broke apart naturally upon impact with water … there is no indication of unnatural destruction or explosion so far,” Mr Tjahjono said.
“However, this still has to be confirmed by reading the black boxes.”
Tracking service officials said the aircraft took off at 2:36pm on Saturday and climbed to 10,900 feet (3,322 metres) within four minutes.
It then began a steep descent and stopped transmitting data 21 seconds later.
The Sriwijaya Air plane was 27 years old, much older than Boeing’s problem-plagued 737 MAX model.
Older 737 models are widely flown and do not have the stall-prevention system implicated in the MAX safety crisis.
In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet, operated by Lion Air, plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The Lion Air crash was Indonesia’s worst airline disaster since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda airlines flight near Medan on the island of Sumatra.