A "black box" that investigators believe to be the flight data recorder from a Lion Air jet was discovered off the Java coast on Thursday, officials said, a crucial discovery that will help investigators determine how an almost-new plane fell out of clear skies in one of the worst commercial air disasters in recent years.
Indonesia's search and rescue agency confirmed the crash of Lion Air flight JT610, adding that it lost contact with ground officials minutes after takeoff, and a tug boat leaving the capital's port saw it fall.
The crash renewed concerns about safety in Indonesia's fast-growing aviation industry.
Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi shows a part of the black box of Lion Air's flight JT610 airplane, on Baruna Jaya ship, in the north sea of Karawang, Indonesia, November 1, 2018.
It could take up to three weeks to download their data and up to six months to analyse it, Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of a national transport safety committee (KNKT), said.
The pilot and co-pilot had 11,000 hours of flying time between them, it said.
The minister also said fares provided by low-cost carriers will be evaluated, saying they are frequently too low and excessive cost-cutting could indirectly affect flight safety. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.
All 189 people on board that plane are believed to be dead.
Dozens of relatives of the missing gathered at a police hospital in East Jakarta, where body bags had been brought for forensic experts to try and identify victims, with techniques such as taking swabs of saliva from families for DNA tests.
He is seen walking along a concourse, showing his Lion Air boarding pass on camera, and zooming in on a Lion Air aircraft while boarding, according to AP.
The budget airline's CEO, Edward Sirait, said earlier this week that a technical problem had occurred on the Denpasar-Jakarta flight but it had been resolved "according to procedure".
Indonesia has deployed "pinger locators" to try to locate the plane's blackboxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are known, at the crash site.
Lion Air Managing Director Daniel Putut said the airline had "many questions" for Chicago-based Boeing and they would discuss the delivery of 737-MAX models on still on order, Indonesian news website tirto.id reported.
Herson, chief of the airport authority for the Bali-Nusa Tenggara area, told Reuters that after the alert the pilot updated the control tower to say that the plane was flying normally and he would not return to the airport as requested.
Representatives from Boeing are meeting Indonesian officials on Wednesday as part of the investigation.