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Diver dies in search for Indonesia jet crash dead

An Indonesian Navy diver (bottom L) holds a recovered “black box” under water before putting it into a plastic container (R) after its discovery during search operations for the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 at sea, north of Karawang in West Java on November 1, 2018. One black box from the crashed Lion Air jet has been recovered, the head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said on November 1, which could be critical to establishing why the brand new plane fell out of the sky. ADEK BERRY / AFP

An Indonesian diver died while recovering body parts from the ill-fated Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea killing 189 people, an official said Saturday.

Syachrul Anto, 48, who died on Friday, was part of the team searching for body parts and debris from the jet in the Java Sea.

“He was a volunteer with the Search and Rescue Agency,” Isswarto, commander of the Indonesian navy’s search and rescue division, told AFP.

It is believed he died from decompression.

“He was found by the SAR team, fainted. He was treated by our doctors, after he regained consciousness, we sent him to the chamber for decompression.

“We have all the equipment, however God’s will says differently,” national search and rescue agency head Muhammad Syaugi said at a press conference.

Anto had previously served in Palu which suffered an earthquake and tsunami in September and was also involved in recovering the bodies and debris from an Air Asia plane crash nearly four years ago.

The Lion Air plane which crashed Monday was en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city on Sumatra island.

It plunged into the water just minutes after takeoff, killing everyone on board.

Officials on Thursday retrieved the flight data recorder but are still searching for the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder, which could answer the question as to why the brand new Boeing-737 MAX 8 crashed.

“We have heard a weak ‘ping’ … the divers are still searching for it,” Syaugi said.

The budget carrier’s admission that the doomed jet had a technical issue on a previous flight — as well its abrupt fatal dive — have raised questions about whether it had mechanical faults specific to the new model.

At least 73 bags containing body parts have been retrieved from the waters so far but only four victims have been identified.

Founded in 1999, Lion Air is a budget airline operating in Indonesia and in some parts of Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

But it has been plagued by safety concerns and customer complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service.

The carrier has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport.

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