The flight data recorder could explain why the 737-500 aircraft plunged into the sea after take-off.
A black box from the crashed Indonesian passenger plane was recovered on Tuesday, days after the plane with 62 people on board crashed into the sea.
“The FDR [flight data recorder] has been found, ”Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said during a live television conference.
The recorder is one of two black boxes – the other being a cockpit voice recorder – that could prove crucial in explaining why the 737-500 aircraft plunged to about 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in less than a minute before crashing into the waters off the capital Jakarta. the Saturday.
TV channels showed divers on an inflatable boat with a large white container containing the device heading for a port in Jakarta. It will be handed over to the National Transport Safety Committee, which oversees the accident investigation.
A navy vessel earlier detected intense pings from the two Sriwijaya Air recorders. They were buried in the mud of the seabed under tons of sharp objects in the wreckage, Navy Chief Admiral Yudo Margono said.
He said at least 160 divers had been deployed to search for the devices.
More than 3,600 rescuers, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats search the area just north of Jakarta where Flight 182 crashed and found parts of the plane and human remains in the water at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet).
So far, researchers have sent 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts who said Monday they identified their first victim, 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma.
His wife, Aldha Refa, who is also a flight attendant for Sriwijaya Air, shared her grief in a series of social media posts.
“My husband is a loving, pious and super kind man,” she wrote on Instagram. “Heaven is your place, honey … be at peace there.”
Distraught family members have provided samples for DNA testing and police say results are expected in 4 to 8 days.
National police spokesman Rusdi Hartono said around 53 samples for DNA testing had been collected but more were still needed, especially from the parents and children of the victims.
The chairman of the Indonesian National Transport Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono, ruled out a possible in-flight rupture after noting the condition of the wreckage found by researchers. He said the jet was intact until it struck the water, concentrating the field of debris, rather than spreading it over a large area as one would see with an in-flight event.
Terrible safety record
The disaster rekindled concerns about safety in Indonesia’s aviation industry, which grew rapidly after the economy opened up following the fall of dictator Suharto in the late 1990s.
The United States had banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, lifting the action in 2016, citing improvements in meeting international aviation standards. The European Union lifted a similar ban in 2018.
In the past year, Indonesian aviation has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in travel restrictions and a drop in demand among travelers.
Sriwijaya Air has only experienced minor safety incidents in the past, although a farmer was killed in 2008 when a plane left the runway on landing due to a hydraulic problem.
In 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Lion Air crashed, killing 189 people. An automated flight control system played a role in this accident, but the Sriwijaya Air jet did not have this system on board.