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Human remains recovered from Lion Air plane crash

Published: Updated:

A Lion Air plane crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday, likely killing all 189 people on board, in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and US.

The national search and rescue agency said human remains have been recovered from the crash area.

Its director of operations, Bambang Suryo Aji, told a news conference the search effort is focusing on finding bodies, and survivors are not expected.

More than 300 people including soldiers, police and local fishermen were involved in the search that has also recovered ID cards, personal belongings and aircraft debris.

At least a dozen ambulances were parked at a nearby beach.

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 (100 feet) deep.

The search is currently planned to last seven days and could be extended.

The plane, which was delivered to Lion Air in August, crashed about 13 minutes after taking off.

Novie Riyanto, the head of AirNav, which manages air traffic in Indonesia, said the pilot made a "RTB" or return to base request "just two or three minutes after it took off and the ATC has approved."

At the same news conference, a Lion Air official said there were two foreigners on board the plane: its pilot, originally from New Delhi, and an Italian citizen.

Indian Embassy official in Jakarta Debashis Biswas identified the pilot as Bhavye Suneja.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he has ordered the National Commission for Transportation Safety to investigate the crash.

He said rescuers are making their best efforts to find victims and urged Indonesians "to keep on praying."

Widodo, speaking in Bali where he was attending a conference, said he feels the anxiety of families and hopes they can remain calm while rescuers are working hard at the crash location at sea northeast of Jakarta.

(Associated Press)