Friday 20 September 2019

Divers recover jet’s flight recorder on Indonesia sea floor

The plane crashed after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

Members of National Search and Rescue Agency inspect debris retrieved from the waters (Fauzy Chaniago/AP)
Members of National Search and Rescue Agency inspect debris retrieved from the waters (Fauzy Chaniago/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Divers have recovered a flight recorder from the crashed Lion Air jet on the sea floor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the two-month-old plane to plunge into the sea earlier this week.

One TV station showed footage of two divers after they surfaced, swimming to an inflatable vessel and placing the bright orange device into a large container that was transferred to a search and rescue ship.

Navy divers interviewed on Indonesian television described recovering the flight recorder.

“I was desperate because the current below was strong but I am confident of the tools given to me,” said Navy 1st Sgt Hendra, who uses a single name.

After narrowing the possible location, “I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object,” he said.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed early Monday just minutes after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997 and renewed concerns about safety in its fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and US blacklists.

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Rescuers scan the horizon during a search operation for the victims of Lion Air plane crash (Binsar Bakkara/AP)

Navy colonel Monang Sitompul said what is believed to the aircraft’s fuselage was also seen on the seafloor.

Officials say the location is about 400 metres north-west of the coordinates where the plane lost contact.

Data from flight-tracking sites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude in the early minutes of a flight on Sunday and on its fatal flight on Monday.

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Rescuers inspect parts of the crashed Lion Air plane (Tatan Syuflana/AP)

Safety experts caution, however, that the data must be checked for accuracy against the flight data recorder.

Several passengers on the Sunday flight from Bali to Jakarta have recounted problems that included a long-delayed takeoff for an engine check and terrifying descents in the first 10 minutes in the air.

PA Media

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