Divers and rescue teams worked on Tuesday to remove passenger remains from the water as investigators examined fragments of debris scattered across a vast expanse of ocean.
The aircraft's fuselage and flight data recorders are yet to be found, which could provide more evidence that the flight crashed about 13 minutes after the start of a routine flight that was to take a little over an hour.
Police said late Monday that 24 body bags had been transferred from the accident to a local autopsy hospital. DNA samples were boarded by 132 family members of passengers to help identify them, but the Jakarta Police Superintendent warned that this could be difficult, and any body bag so far may contain the remains of more than one person.
One family member, 1
"We cried a lot (crisis center) while waiting for the authorities," she told CNN. "All families have cried, I'm not the only one who suffers, so I have to be strong."
"My mother was a very friendly person," Aurelia added. "I do not understand why (that happened)."
The cause of the crash remains a mystery
The aircraft, a new Boeing 737 MAX 8, carried 181 passengers as well as six cabin crew members and two pilots to Pangkal Pinang on the Indonesian island of Bangka
for air traffic control to fly back to the airport about 19 kilometers (12 miles) after launch, but did not state that there was an emergency.
Radar data did not show that the plane had declined and air traffic controllers lost contact Shortly thereafter, Yohanes Sirait, spokesman for AirNav Indonesia, the agency that monitors air traffic (19659002) said David Soucie, a former security inspector at the US Aviation authority that the fact that an emergency was not reported should give cause for concern.
"What's most peculiar to me is the fact that they did not call for an emergency, they just said, 'we're going back,'" said Soucie, a CNN security analyst.
"But then when I looked at the track of the plane, after that the plane made a very steep dive, which is not typical of what they would have done," he added. "They would have maintained the altitude and then returned to the airport."
The plane had reported problems the night before on a flight to Denpasar, Jakarta, but the engineers had reviewed and repaired the problem and granted the clearance, said Edward Sriau, Lion Air's CEO, local media.
AirNav Indonesia said the flight would have been given a priority landing site if it had declared an emergency.
"Something happened that lost control of this aircraft," said Soucie.
The cause of the crash, however, he has excluded the weather, as the aircraft did not seem to try to return to Jakarta. "That says something happened abruptly and very fast to the plane."
Although the flight data recorder and the voice cockpit recorder – the so-called "black boxes" – still have to be found, Soucie warned of emergency locator stations on the black boxes are a bit unreliable and could, as with the missing Flight MH370 from Malaysia Airlines, not to be discovered.
"If the plane goes down, the first thing you can find is these boxes, and if the signal indicating where they are does not work or is not properly constructed, that's a big problem," he said. "It's more of a systemic problem again than a particular aircraft."
Black Boxes typically provide information about the causes of the crash and the last minutes of the flight.
Lion Air acquired the Jet Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in August and flew only 800 hours according to the Indonesian National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC).
Soucie said 800 hours are enough time "to try this – and true."
He added that the MAX 8 is "the top of the line, it's one of the best you can buy … I do not see anything coming back regarding this question or the flight of the plane itself." 19659002] CNN aviation analyst Peter Goelz agreed that the loss of such a new aircraft was "highly unusual."
But because the pilot and co-pilot of the Lion Air Jet had experienced 6,000 and 5,000 hours of flight, respectively, and weather did not seem to be a factor, investigators would focus on the plane, said Goelz, a former chairman of the US National Transportation Safety Board.
Indonesia's Poor Security Situation
The general safety record of the Indonesian aviation industry, which has lagged far behind in other countries, will also be noticed in the region.
After the crash, Australia has its government officials and contractors advised not to fly Lion Air, a government official told CNN.
Lion Air was one of dozens of Indonesian airlines banished from European airspace in 2007. after a series of crashes and concerns about falling safety standards.
A similar ban preventing Indonesian airlines from entering US airspace was lifted in 2016.
Soucie involved in several investigations in Indonesia "The Indonesian ban was more related to" the Indonesian government and its commitment to security than to a single airline. "
According to CAPA, Lion Air, a budget leader, controlled more than 50% of the Indonesian domestic market from 2017, according to CAPA.
"What they (Indonesian government) had to deal with was a systemic problem with the way in which how Indonesia is looking at the safety to re-adjust or recalibrate, "said Soucie." They have a l long, long way. "
Ivan Watson of CNN, Jo Shelley, Darran Simon, Edi Amin, Devianti Faridz, Sheena McKenzie, and Sarah Faidell contributed to the report.