Indonesia divers, underwater beacons Drones, and sonar technology have been deployed in Indonesia to search for a Lion Air passenger plane which crashed into the sea on Monday.
There has been no sign of survivors but debris and personal belongings have been collected from the water.
“Hopefully this morning we can find the wreckage or fuselage,” Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia’s transport safety panel, told Reuters, adding that an underwater acoustic beacon was deployed to locate the main body of the plane.
The search and rescue agency added that four sonar detectors were also deployed in areas where aircraft debris had been found a day earlier off the shore of Karawang, West Java, and 15 vessels were scouring the sea surface.
Earlier, Yusuf Latif, the spokesman of the national search and rescue agency, said there were unlikely to be survivors.
The operations director at the agency, Bambang Suryo Aji, says the search effort is focusing on finding bodies.
He said six body bags have been used so far for human remains recovered.
Aji said the location of the plane hull hasn’t been identified yet. Waters, where it sank, are up to 30 meters deep.
The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.
The passenger plane had only been in service for two months.
Finding survivors “would be a miracle”, Latif added, judging by the condition of the recovered debris and body parts.
Operasi pencarian pesawat Lion Air JT-610 di Perairan Karawang terus dilakukan tim SAR gabungan yang dikoordinir Basarnas. Operasi SAR dilakukan per sektor untuk operasi laut dan udara pads 30-31/10/2018. Teknologi sonar digunakan untuk deteksi pesawat di dasar laut. pic.twitter.com/qc84TiPzIf
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 30, 2018
There is no indication yet of what caused the plane to go down 13 minutes after taking off. Officials say the pilot of the Boeing 737 had asked to return to Soekarno-Hatta airport shortly before losing contact with air traffic control.
A technical log obtained by the BBC showed the plane had encountered technical problems while flying from Bali to Jakarta the previous day.
The log showed one instrument was “unreliable” and the pilot had to hand over to the first officer.
Divers and rescue teams were working Tuesday to bring passenger remains out of the water, as investigators examined fragments of debris scattered over a large expanse of sea.
The aircraft’s fuselage and flight data recorders are yet to be recovered, which should provide more evidence as to what caused the flight to crash about 13 minutes after taking off on a routine flight expected to take just over one hour.
Flight JT 610 was heading for the western city of Pangkal Pinang on Monday but immediately encountered difficulties.
Thirteen minutes into the flight it suddenly sped up and lost altitude, falling into the Java Sea, north-east of Jakarta.
People who were on boats in the area at the time have reported seeing it fall from the sky.
The head of Indonesia’s disaster agency, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said on Twitter that sonar devices were being used in the waters near Karawang – the plane’s last known point of contact.
Investigators are also looking for the plane’s black box recorder, which will provide key flight data.
Mr Sutopo has also warned against hoaxes that have been spreading on social media, including pictures that users claimed were taken by passengers in their last moments before the plane went down.In a statement, Boeing expressed sympathy for the victims and families and said it stood “ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation”.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago, is heavily reliant on air travel but many of its airlines have a poor safety record.
It has had issues of safety and poor management in the past and was banned from flying into European airspace until 2016.