JAKARTA (Reuters) – Experts from Boeing have arrived in Indonesia to help with the investigation into the Lion Air’s 737 MAX 8 plane that crashed into the sea with 189 people minutes after takeoff from Jakarta airport on Monday.
Lion Air Director Daniel Putut said his company was meeting the experts from US plane maker Boeing Co to discuss the fate of the plane whose flight recorders are yet to be found.
“We have many questions for them …This was a new plane,” Mr Putut told reporters at a police hospital where a forensic team was identifying the body parts of the victims that were retrieved from among the debris floating on the waters.
Lion Air, one of Boeing’s largest customers globally, announced in April a firm order to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 narrow body jets with a list price of $6.24 billion.
Mr Putut said the next delivery of the 737 MAX aircraft would have to undergo “an evaluation process” following the crash.
Meanwhile, the national search and rescue office deputy chief, Nugroho Budi Wiryanto has disclosed that rescuers will extend the area of search operation for the victims and the main wreckage of the doomed plane.
He said the search operation will be extended to 15 nautical miles from 10 nautical miles, aiming at maximizing the search mission to find the main wreckage of the aircraft.
“Ships that we use will be maximised, (and) diving will be also intensified,” he said, adding that the search will include ships equipped with technology of echo-sounder and sonar to detect the position of the main wreckage of the aircraft.
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.
Head of Health and Medical Department of Indonesian National Police Brigadier General Arthur Tampi said to date 49 bags of body parts had already been returned and handed over to police.
The body bags were sent to a Jakarta hospital where a forensic team has begun conducting DNA tests on the body parts.
He said it would take anywhere from four to eight days to collect the DNA data.
According to the national search and rescue agency, two foreign nationals are among the victims, an Indian pilot , Bhavye Suneja, and a 26-year-old Italian national and former professional cyclist Andrea Manfredi.