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The tragic photo that puts the humanity behind the story of Lion Air's plane crash.

The Indonesian Lion Air crash was an unbelievable tragedy.

Just 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s international airport, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 lost contact with ground staff and crashed into the sea off Tanjung Karawang, 70 kilometres east of Jakarta.

Out of the confirmed 189 passengers, including three children, no survivors have been found.

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Although it’s easy to recognise the obvious disaster of a plane crash, when the story is reduced to a headline or a body count, it becomes just another tragedy in the news cycle – one we briefly interact with while driving the kids to school, or scrolling through Facebook on the bus.

But these two photos taken by AAP photographer, Bagus Indahono, tear us away from the headlines, and force us to look at the real human loss behind them.

Lion Air crash tragic photo
Image: AAP.
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Lion Air crash tragic photo
Image: AAP.

The images show officials removing the recovered possessions of the passengers of Lion Air flight JT610, as they're about to be loaded onto a truck for further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Among the debris there's a pair of Nike running shoes, similar to the ones that might be sitting in your hallway, a purple and blue polka-dot backpack, that looks as if it belonged to one of the three children on the plane, and an empty Fuji Film bag, missing the camera it was meant to protect.

As humans, there's an automatic, empathetic response that comes from seeing the eerie familiarity of a stranger's material possessions, especially when they represent unfinished stories, and lives senselessly stopped short. There's an incredible injustice in a person's shoes being sorted by strangers - their presence surpassing the person who once wore them.

The chances of being a victim of an airline crash sits somewhere between one in 5.4 million to one in 11 million, and yet, these photos remind us that this figure means absolutely nothing when it's your parent, child, friend or loved one, who never reached their destination.

Were you moved by the above two photos? Tell us in a comment below.