Divers recover 'black box' from crashed Indonesia plane

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2021

"We are sure that, because the beacon that was attached to the cockpit voice recorder was also found around the area, so with high confidence, the cockpit voice recorder will soon be found", military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said at a news conference.

The plane had been headed to Pontianak on Borneo island, about 740 km (460 miles) from Jakarta.

The effort has so far retrieved multiple human body parts and one crash victim has been identified.

It was still functioning and intact before it crashed, preliminary results showed.

It made its first flight five days later with no passengers before resuming commercial flights on 22 December.

Indonesia's transport ministry said earlier on Tuesday the jet, which was grounded during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, had passed an airworthiness inspection on December 14 and had returned to service shortly after.

The National Transportation Safety Committee examines debris from the Sriwijaya Air plane crash on January 12, 2021, in Jakarta.

The NTSC chairman, Soerjanto Tjahjono, ruled out a possible mid-air break-up after seeing the condition of the wreckage found by searchers.

"The damaged fan blade indicates that the machine was still functioning when it crashed".

The safety board chief also said field data have shown the pieces of the plane's wreckage found by rescuers only covered a 40-square-kilometer area, supporting "our hypothesis that the plane didn't explode upon impact with the water".

Search teams are continuing to comb the waters at the crash site, trying to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder. He said at least 160 divers were deployed on Tuesday in the search.

There are reportedly some 2,600 personnel are now involved in the search operation along with more than 50 ships and 13 aircraft.

Investigators are already analysing items which they believe to be a wheel and part of the plane's fuselage.

Safety officials say this stage of the investigation could take up to a year.

The recovery of the device is expected to help investigators determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 plane to nosedive into the ocean shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Saturday.

There were thought to be 50 passengers - including seven children and three babies - and 12 crew on board, though the plane has a capacity of 130.

Established in 2003, Sriwijaya Air is the country's third-largest airline and is regarded as having a good safety record.

The US Federal Aviation Administration sent an airworthiness directive requiring operators of various Boeing 737 aircraft models, including the 737-500, to carry out engine checks before they can be flown again after being out of service, Director General of Air Transportation Novie Riyanto said in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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