Indonesia orders plane inspection

Jakarta, Tuesday

Indonesia ordered the inspection of all Boeing 737-MAX airliners on Tuesday as rescue teams recovered more victims from a brand new Lion Air jet that plunged into the sea with 189 people on board.

On a Jakarta dockside, officials took up the grim task of separating human remains from plane debris and recovered personal effects, sending the body parts—including from an infant—to hospital for DNA testing.

Stretched out along the dock was a growing collection of items plucked from the sea-single shoes, torn pieces of clothing, wallets and bags scattered among aircraft seats stripped of their blue covers by the sheer impact of the crash.

The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just a few months ago, crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia’s northern coast moments after it had asked to return to Jakarta on Monday.

Flight JT610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar 12 minutes after take-off, with witnesses saying the single-aisle jet plunged into the water.

The accident has resurrected concerns about Indonesia’s patchy air safety record which led to a now-lifted ban on its planes entering US and European airspace.

On Tuesday Indonesia’s transport minister ordered an inspection of all 737-MAX aircraft but he stopped short of grounding the new models. Dozens of divers were taking part in the recovery effort along with helicopters and ships.

Authorities are trying to pinpoint the smashed jet’s location and flight data recorders expected to be crucial to the crash investigation. Scores of relatives thronged a hospital building being used for victim identification. – AFP

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