Black box from crashed aircraft found

JAKARTA – The black box belonging to the Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed last Saturday, was successfully retrieved by the Indonesian search and rescue (SAR) team today.

Indonesian Army (TNI), commander Hadi Tjahjanto in a press conference broadcast live on local television, said the black box found was a Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

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The FDR was found by Indonesian Navy divers, in the waters of Pulau Laki and Pulau Lancang in the Kepulauan Seribu, at 4.20 pm West Indonesian time.

“The search operation will continue for the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), locate aircraft debris and victims,” said Hadi.

Passed inspection

The Sriwijaya Air plane which crashed into the Java Sea on Saturday had passed an airworthiness inspection last month, officials have said.

The 26-year-old Boeing 737, grounded for nine months last year, resumed commercial flights on 22 December.

The aircraft with 62 people on board was still functioning and intact before it crashed, preliminary results showed. There were no survivors.

Indonesian police earlier identified the first victim – Okky Bisma, a 29-year-old flight attendant on the plane.

Indonesia’s transport ministry on Tuesday said the aircraft had been grounded during the pandemic, and passed an inspection on 14 December.

It made its first flight five days later with no passengers, then resumed commercial flights shortly after that.

Separately, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said that preliminary findings showed that the plane had reached the height of 10,900ft (3.3km) at 14:36 local time on Saturday (07:36 GMT), then made a steep drop to 250ft at 14:40, before it stopped transmitting data.

Did not explode

KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono meanwhile has said that it is believed that there was no explosion before the Sriwijaya Air jet crashed into the waters of Kepulauan Seribu.

He said this was because parts of the aircraft retrieved so far, measured more than 23 metres.

“Parts of plane wreckage were also found within an area of 400 metres and the aircraft did not experience an explosion before crashing into the water,” he said in a statement today.

National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS), Operations director, Brig Gen Rasman in a statement said, the operation today involved 2,600 personnel and 53 ships which are equipped with Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs).

In another development, Indonesian Minister of Communications, Budi Karya Sumadi in a statement said, the Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, where the recovered body parts are gathered, has obtained all 62 deoxyribonucleic acid samples from families of the victims.

The hospital will conduct antermortem and postmortem examinations to identify the victims.

The Boeing 737-500 jet with 62 people including 12 crew on board, lost contact with ground controllers after taking off at 2.36 pm Western Indonesian Time from Jakarta en route to Pontianak, Kalimantan before crashing in the waters of the Thousand Islands chain.