Divers scoured the seabed near the Indonesian capital on Wednesday looking for cockpit recordings of a crashed passenger plane, after investigators said it would take days before they could read the data logger flight that had already been recovered.
The two “black boxes” could provide critical clues as to why Sriwijaya Air’s Boeing 737-500 plunged to about 3,000 feet (3,000 meters) in less than a minute before crashing into the sea. Java shortly after takeoff on Saturday, taking 62 people with it.
Divers just off Jakarta had carried the data logger to the surface on Tuesday, with the hunt now focused on finding a voice recorder on the wreck-strewn seabed.
The discovery came as a team from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was ready to join the investigation in the capital, alongside staff from Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and the producer of GE Aviation jet engines.
“The search is continuing today and we hope for a good result,” Rasman MS, the search and rescue agency’s director of operations, told reporters on Wednesday.
Agency chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said a day earlier that investigators hoped to download the data from the recovered black box within days, so that “we can unravel the mystery behind this accident.”
The black box data includes the aircraft’s speed, altitude and direction as well as flight crew conversations, and helps explain nearly 90% of all crashes, according to aviation experts.
So far, authorities have not been able to explain why the 26-year-old plane crashed just four minutes after leaving Jakarta, bound for the town of Pontianak on the island of Borneo, 90 minutes by flight.
More than 3,000 people are participating in the recovery effort, aided by dozens of boats and helicopters flying over small islands off the coast of the capital.
A remote-controlled vehicle has been deployed to help divers, but strong currents and monsoon rains can make the task more difficult.
“It is not easy to find casualties and parts of the fuselage because the debris and human remains are usually in small pieces and can therefore easily get away,” said Agus Haryono of the rescue team. search and rescue agency.
The macabre task of hunting down mutilated body parts can also have psychological consequences.
New divers “feel uncomfortable or even scared, especially when they are collecting leftovers at night,” Haryono said.
“But, over time, they get stronger mentally to deal with these situations.”
Three other victims were identified by matching recorded fingerprints with body parts recovered from the murky depths, authorities said on Wednesday, including a 50-year-old female passenger and a 38-year-old rest pilot.
There were 10 children among the passengers on the half-full plane, which had experienced pilots at the controls.
Dozens of body bags filled with human remains were taken to a police morgue where forensic investigators hoped to identify the victims by matching fingerprints or TBEN with relatives.
Authorities said the crew did not declare an emergency or report any technical issues with the plane prior to its dive, and the 737 was likely intact when it struck the water – citing a relatively small area where the wreckage was scattered.
The crash investigation would likely last for months, but a preliminary report was expected in 30 days.
Aviation analysts said flight following data showed the plane deviated sharply from its intended course before embarking on a steep dive, with bad weather, pilot error or mechanical failure among the potential factors.
The crash sparked some misinformation online, including a pair of photos purporting to show a baby who survived the weekend crash. The footage actually shows a baby rescued from a fatal disaster in 2018.
Sriwijaya Air, which flies to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has had safety incidents, including runway overruns.
But he has not had a fatal accident since operations began in 2003.
Its CEO said the jet, which was previously flown by Continental Airlines and United Airlines, was in good condition.
Indonesia’s growing aviation sector has long been plagued by security concerns, and its airlines were once banned from US and European airspace.
In October 2018, 189 people were killed when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX plane crashed near Jakarta.
This crash – and another in Ethiopia – led to the 737 MAX being stranded around the world due to a faulty anti-stall system.
The 737 that fell on Saturday was first produced decades ago and was not a MAX variant.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)