Relatives of Lion Air victims pray, cast flowers into sea

A relative sprinkles flowers during a prayer for the victims of the crashed Lion Air flight 610 on an Indonesia Navy ship in the waters where the airplane is believed to have crashed in Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

KARAWANG, Indonesia (AP) — Relatives of Lion Air crash victims prayed and threw flowers into the Java Sea where the jet plunged into the water more than a week ago, killing all 189 people on board.

Two Indonesian navy vessels took hundreds of relatives to the crash location on Tuesday where a massive search effort is still underway.

Many wept when they saw search personnel working. Officials from the navy and search and rescue agency and Lion Air employees threw wreaths into the sea.

Investigators on Monday said the brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane had a malfunctioning airspeed indicator on its last four flights including its fatal Oct. 29 flight, based on an analysis of its flight data recorder. Lion Air said after the crash that a technical problem with its previous flight was fixed. Searchers are still hunting for the cockpit voice recorder.

Santun, who uses a single name, said visiting the location helped him accept what had happened to his daughter, Putri Yuniarsih.

“Up until now I believed that my daughter would be found safely but if God decided differently and my daughter is found dead or not even found then as a father I would sincerely accept it,” he said.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

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