INDONESIA INTENSIFIES SEARCH FOR AIR CRASH VICTIMS, IDENTIFICATION BODIES UNDERWAY

JAKARTA, Indonesian rescuers will extend the area of search operation for the victims and the main wreckage of the fatal air crash on Monday with all 189 people on board likely killed, while a forensic team is striving to identify the bodies of victims.

The national search and rescue office deputy chief Nugroho Budi Wiryanto disclosed on Tuesday evening that the search operation will be extended to 15 nautical miles on Wednesday from 10 nautical miles on Tuesday, aiming at maximizing the search mission to find the main wreckage of the almost new Lion Air Boeing 737 max 8 jet plane and the victims.

"Tomorrow we will widen the area of search, the ships that we use will be maximize, (and) diving will be also intensified," he said.

The search will include ships equipped with technology of echo-sounder and sonar to detect the position of the main wreckage of the aircraft, said Wiryanto.

Search for the wreckage of the aircraft, which went down in the water of Tanjung Karawang shortly after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta airport in Banten province, was in the radius of five nautical miles from the spot believed to be the crash site, according to rescue office.

Separately at the police hospital in Jakarta, a forensic team is striving to identify the bodies of victims on Tuesday.

Head of Health and Medical Department of Indonesian National Police Brigadier General Arthur Tampi said the forensic team has received body parts retrieved among the debris floating on the waters.

"We have conducted forensic examination, doctors have done it," he said.

Arthur Latief, head of media communication of the national search and rescue office told Xinhua by phone that a total of 10 body bags have been sent to the police hospital.

Tampi said that the forensic team has collected a total of 185 ante-mortem data, and as many as 147 of them have been taken DNA data.

However, none of the victims could be identified on Tuesday as many of the ante-mortem data have similarities, so the team has to wait for the DNA data to come out in four to eight days.

According to the national search and rescue agency, two foreign nationals are among the victims, an Indian pilot and an Italian national.

Edward Sirait, president and CEO of the Lion Air Group said that the Boeing 737 max 8 was purchased by the company this year, and started operating in August.

Source: NAM News Network

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