November 3, 2018 / 6:59 AM / in 14 days

Senior Indonesian rescue diver dies in jet crash search

JAKARTA, Nov 3 (Reuters) - An Indonesian rescue diver died in the search for a passenger jet that crashed early this week near Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board, the search and rescue agency (Basarnas) said on Saturday.

Syachrul Anto, 48, died on Friday while diving to search for victims of the crashed Lion (Air) aircraft,” the agency said on Saturday via its Instagram account sar_nasional.

“Deepest condolences for the passing of a humanitarian hero from the Indonesian Diving Rescue Team,” Basarnas chief Syaugi said in a news release. Anto died at around 4 p.m. on Friday, it said.

It was not immediately clear how Anto perished. Anto’s family had chosen not to conduct an autopsy and asked for his remains to be buried immediately, Basarnas spokesman Yusuf Latif told Reuters by text message.

Among other missions, Anto was also one of the main divers involved in the search for an AirAsia jet that crashed off Borneo in late 2014, he said.

Rescue divers have played critical roles in recovering human remains for identification and finding out what happened to the near-new Boeing Co. 737 MAX that crashed early on Monday into the Java Sea, 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta.

As of Saturday a total of 73 body bags, few containing intact remains, had been recovered from the site.

Divers have been searching for a second black box from the jet, as investigators try to get data from a partly damaged recorder recovered from sunken wreckage on Thursday.

The pilot of flight JT610 had asked for, and received, permission to turn back to Jakarta, but what went wrong remains a mystery.

“The team have been hearing the ‘ping’ sound from another black box for two days,” Soerjanto Tjahjono told Reuters.

The sea is only 30 m (98 ft) deep at the crash site but strong currents and nearby pipelines have hampered the search.

While victims’ relatives are desperate to know what happened, the investigation of the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry. Results of a preliminary investigation will be made public after 30 days, one official on the investigation team said.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets but its safety record has been patchy. Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.

Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Kim Coghill

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