Indonesia stops search for victims of Lion Air crash

The crash killed all 189 passengers on board. (AP)
Updated 10 November 2018
0

Indonesia stops search for victims of Lion Air crash

  • Authorities will still search for the Lion Air flight’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder
  • 196 body bags containing human remains had been retrieved and 77 victims identified after forensic examination

JAKARTA: Indonesia authorities said on Saturday they had stopped the search for victims of a plane crash that killed all 189 people on board, but would keep looking for the Lion Air flight’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
“There is nowhere left to search and we have stopped finding victims’ bodies,” Muhammad Syaugi, the head of the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) told media. “We will limit our operations to monitoring.”
The nearly new Boeing Co. 737 MAX passenger plane crashed into the sea on Oct. 29 just minutes after taking off from Jakarta en route to Bangka island near Sumatra.
Syaugi said 196 body bags containing human remains had been retrieved and 77 victims identified after forensic examination.
Authorities have downloaded data from one of the black boxes found last week, the flight data recorder, but are still looking for the cockpit voice recorder.
Soearjanto Tjahjono, the head of the transportation safety committee (KNKT), said finding the voice recorder would be critical to understanding the cause of the crash.
“From the black box data, we know about 70-80 percent of what happened but to 100-percent understand the cause of the accident... we need be able to know the conversation that took place in the plane’s cockpit,” he said, declining to elaborate on what the flight data recorder had revealed.
KNKT has brought in a pinger locator and a vessel capable of sucking up mud to help with the search for the voice recorder, in addition to remotely operated underwater vehicles equipped with cameras.
Tjahjono said he was worried the cockpit voice recorder may have been damaged on impact because KNKT had yet to detect any “ping” sounds that would indicate its location, as had happened with the first black box.
He said authorities were searching for 15 aircraft parts, including an “angle of attack” sensor on the aircraft, which helps the plane’s computers understand if the aircraft is stable. Investigators have said one of these sensors had provided erroneous data.
KNKT told Reuters on Wednesday that there was a problem with the sensor on the previous flight taken by the doomed plane from the island of Bali to Jakarta. One sensor had been replaced in Bali.


PM Modi files nomination papers in India’s general election

Updated 26 April 2019
0

PM Modi files nomination papers in India’s general election

  • Voting in three of the seven phases of the staggered elections has finished
  • In total, some 900 million people are registered to vote for candidates to fill 543 seats in India’s lower house of Parliament

VARANASI, India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed nomination papers Friday in a Hindu holy city, hoping to hold onto the seat for a second time in India’s general elections.
He prayed at a temple before arriving at the election office in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh state, flanked by Amit Shah, president of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party, and several state chief ministers. As his car passed, people shouted slogans such as “Har Har, Modi!” or “Hail, Modi!“
Thousands of BJP activists, some carrying party flags and sporting saffron caps, waived at Modi who responded with a smile. People also showered rose petals on him. Many were perched on the road dividers and many more watched the show from windows and roofs of homes on both sides of the roads.
Voting in three of the seven phases of the staggered elections has finished. In total, some 900 million people are registered to vote for candidates to fill 543 seats in India’s lower house of Parliament. Voting concludes on May 19 and counting is scheduled for May 23.
With around 1.7 million voters, Varanasi will go the polls on May 19. The election is seen as a referendum on Modi and his party. The campaigning has been marred by accusations, insults and unprecedented use of social media to spread false information.
Varanasi is one of the holiest cities for Hindus in India and is based at the banks of the Ganges River, or Ganga. Hindus believe Varanasi is the center of the world and anyone who dies in the city attains salvation.
Invoking Hindu symbolism, Modi told party workers before filing his nomination papers: “Mother Ganga will take care of me.”
“Last time when I contested nobody told me to come here, nobody sent me to Varanasi. Mother Ganga has invited me,” he said.
Modi supporters say the tea seller’s son from Gujarat state has improved the nation’s standing. But critics say his party’s Hindu nationalism has aggravated religious tensions in India.
In his five years as prime minister, Modi has pushed to promote this secular nation of 1.3 billion people and nine major religions as a distinctly Hindu state. He has rallied his support base with Hindu mega projects across India, including in Varanasi, but has also been blamed for rising attacks by Hindu mobs against minorities, mainly Muslims who number about 170 million.
Modi and his party also have adopted aggressive nationalism, using the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir to pivot away from his economic record and playing up the threat of rival Pakistan. The approach was employed especially after a suicide bombing in Kashmir on Feb. 14 killed 40 soldiers, causing brief fighting with Pakistan and allowing Modi to portray himself as a strong, uncompromising leader on national security.