JAKARTA: Indonesian rescuers have begun retrieving body parts after a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Monday (Oct 29).
All 189 people on board were "likely" killed, said Indonesia's search and rescue agency.
"My prediction is that nobody survived because the victims that we found, their bodies were no longer intact and it's been hours so it is likely 189 people have died," the agency's operational director Bambang Suryo Aji told reporters.
"We need to find the main wreckage," he added.
About 40 divers are part of about 150 personnel at the scene, authorities said, with the plane in water about 30 to 40 metres deep.
Flight JT610 plunged into the sea 13 minutes after leaving Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Its destination was Pangkal Pinang, east of Sumatra, on Bangka island.
Photos posted on the Twitter account of the national search and rescue agency Basarnas showed six body bags being brought to shore at Tanjung Priuk port.
Earlier, video footage apparently filmed at the scene of the crash showed a slick of fuel on the surface of the water and pictures showed what appeared to be an emergency slide and bits of wreckage bearing Lion Air's logo.
The agency added that debris was also collected from the sea and brought along with the body bags.
Items such as handphones, handbags, identity cards and life vests were found in waters about 30 metres to 35 metres deep near where the plane lost contact with air traffic control.
Earlier, Basarnas chief Muhammad Syaugi said he could not confirm if there were any survivors from the crash.
"We don't know yet whether there are any survivors," agency head Muhmmad Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft's emergency transmitter.
"We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm."
Lion Air Group CEO Edward Sirait said that the plane had a technical problem on a previous flight, but that had been resolved.
"This plane previously flew from Denpasar (Bali) to Cengkareng (Jakarta). There was a report of a technical issue which had been resolved according to procedure."
Investigators will focus on recovering the cockpit voice and data recorders and building up a picture of the brand-new plane's technical status, the condition and training of the crew as well as weather and air traffic recordings.
If all on board prove to have died in Monday's crash, it would rank as Indonesia's second-worst air disaster, after a Garuda Indonesia A300 crash in Medan that killed 214 people in 1997, he said.