- The black box from Sriwijaya Air Flight 1822 has been retrieved by Indonesian Navy divers.
- The black box recovery would help officials understand why Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 on Saturday plunged into the Java Sea
- Out of two Black Boxes, one has been discovered by searchers and only one passenger from partial human remains retrieved from the shallow waters has been identified
A black box was retrieved from the crashed Indonesian passenger flight, officials said Tuesday, a finding that could give crucial clues to explain why the plane slammed into the sea with 62 people onboard.
As the search for its cockpit voice recorder continues, divers just off the coast of the capital Jakarta took the jet’s flight data recorder to the surface.
After the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 plunged about 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in less than a minute before crashing into the Java Sea on Saturday, Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told a live television briefing that the black box had been located.
An AFP (Agence France-Presse) reporter on a naval ship said investigators began picking up powerful signals from the area where they were looking, with divers being able to pick up the box from the wreckage-littered seabed in about an hour.
The authorities have so far been unable to explain why, just four minutes after takeoff, the 26-year-old plane crashed.
According to aviation experts, black box data — which records details about the aircraft’s pace, altitude and direction as well as flight crew conversations — helps explain approximately 90% of all crashes.
Sumadi added that officials believe that the voice recorder in the cockpit is near the flight data recorder.
Budi Karya Sumadi also said, “We strongly believe it’ll be found soon.”
Around 3,600 workers, supported by hundreds of boats and helicopters flying over small islands off the capital’s coast, are taking part in the recovery effort.
To help the divers, the agency deployed a remotely operated vehicle.
Scores of body bags loaded with human remains were taken to a police morgue where forensic investigators hope to locate victims with distraught relatives by matching fingerprints or DNA—some held out survivors’ hope.
Inda Gunawan, one of the relatives of the victim who have possibly been dead said, “We haven’t accepted it yet.”
“Our family is still hoping for a miracle that he is still alive,” Inda Gunawan said that his brother, Didik Gunardi, was on the doomed flight on Saturday.
Flight attendant Okky Bisma, 29, was identified by the authorities as the first confirmed victim after comparing fingerprints from a recovered hand to those in a database of government identities.
“Rest in peace up there darling and wait for me… in heaven,” Aldha Refa, the wife of Okky Bisma, wrote on Instagram.
Among the passengers on the half-full plane, which had experienced control pilots as it left Jakarta on a 90-minute flight to Pontianak city on Borneo island, there were 10 children.
The investigator of the transport safety agency claimed that the crew had not declared an emergency or reported technical issues with the aircraft prior to its dive and that the 737 was likely intact when it hit the water.
That view was echoed earlier Tuesday by search-and-rescue agency chief Soerjanto Tjahjono, pointing to the relatively small area where debris was dispersed in about 23 meters (75 feet) of water.
Soerjanto Tjahjono also said “The size is consistent with the assumption that the plane didn’t explode before hitting the water.”
“The damage seen on the retrieved fan blade also shows that the engine was still working.”
It was likely that the crash probe would take months, but in 30 days, a preliminary report was expected.
Aviation experts said flight-tracking data showed that before it went into a steep dive, the plane dramatically deviated from its intended path.
Safety incidents including runway overruns have occurred at Sriwijaya Air, which flies to destinations in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia.
But since starting operations in 2003, it has not had a fatal accident.
The plane, previously operated by US-based Continental Airlines and United Airlines, was in good condition, its CEO said.
The fast-growing aviation industry in Indonesia has been plagued by safety issues for a long time, and its airlines were once barred from US and European airspace.
189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed near Jakarta in October 2018.
The crash — and another in Ethiopia — contributed to the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX.
The 737 that went down Saturday was manufactured for the first time decades ago and was not a MAX variant.