Vietnam Time

11/1/2018 12:30:23 PM

Lion Air flight JT610's black box found

Indonesian divers have retrieved a black box from a crashed Lion Air jet and brought it back to a ship on the surface, one of the divers told media on Thursday (Nov 1).

Screengrab of a Kompas TV report showing divers moving a black box from the crashed Lion Air plane onto a boat.

"We dug and we got the black box" from among debris in the mud on the sea floor, the diver, identified as Hendra, told broadcaster Metro TV on board the Baruna Jaya vessel.

It was recovered at 10.15am in waters off Tanjung Karawang, West Java, Kompas TV reported. TV stations showed images of the device which was transferred from an inflatable vessel to a ship in a large white container.

“We found the flight data recorder, (but) the cockpit voice recorder has yet to be found,” said Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) chief Muhamad Syaugi in a live broadcast on board the Baruna Jaya, one of the vessels engaged in the search and recovery mission.

TV stations showed images of the device as it was transferred from an inflatable vessel to a ship in a large white container.

The diver who found the flight data recorder, Sertu Hendra, described how he saw the orange-coloured device buried in the muddy seabed.

“At that time I was diving at a depth of 30 metres and I also saw the wreckage of a plane measuring about one metre and a half,” he said.

Another diver told broadcaster Metro TV that he and his team dug into the seabed until they got hold of the black box. He said that he saw only "small pieces" of the aircraft, and that the search had closed in on the black box because of the "ping" signals it emitted.

There are two black boxes – the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Despite their name, both boxes are in fact bright orange with reflective stripes, and all commercial planes are required to have them on board.

The flight data recorder gathers information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane with enough storage for 25 hours of data, while the cockpit voice recorder keeps track of conversations and other sounds in the pilots' cabin.

The black boxes should help explain why the almost-new jet went down minutes after take-off, according to aviation experts.

It could take up to three weeks to download their data and up to six months to analyse it, Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of a national transport safety committee, said.

The Boeing-737 MAX plane plunged into the Java Sea on Oct 29, just 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta. It was headed to Pangkal Pinang city on Bangka island, an hour's flight away.

As part of the search operation, Indonesian authorities deployed divers, search and rescue vessels, four sonar detectors and an underwater acoustic beacon.

Some of the personal belongings retrieved from the crash site. (Photo: Jack Board)

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee said 181 passengers – including two babies and one child – and eight crew members were on board.

Twenty employees from Indonesia’s Finance Ministry as well as Andrea Manfredi, an Italian former professional cyclist, were also among the passengers on the ill-fated flight.

Flight JT610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude in the minutes before it disappeared, according to flight data tracking websites, with authorities saying witnesses saw the jet plunge into the water.

Members of a rescue team bring personal items and wreckage ashore at the port in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, after they were recovered from the sea where Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed off the north coast. (RESMI MALAU/AFP)

Indonesian officials named the captain of the flight as Bhavye Suneja, an Indian national who had been with the airline for seven years, local media reports said.

According to Lion Air, Suneja and his co-pilot, Harvino, had 11,000 hours of flying between them and had undergone medical checkups and drug testing recently./.

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