1 'black box' recovered from crashed Lion Air jet

1 'black box' recovered from crashed Lion Air jet
PHOTO: AFP

One black box from the crashed Lion Air jet has been recovered, the head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee said Thursday, which could be critical to establishing why the brand new plane fell out of the sky.

The devices record information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane as well as flight crew conversations and could hold vital clues to the cause of the deadly accident.

"We found one of the black boxes," Soerjanto Tjahjono told AFP.

It was not clear whether it was the flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder.

The Boeing-737 MAX 8, which went into service just a few months ago, plunged into the Java Sea off Indonesia's northern coast on Monday, killing 189 people, just 12 minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta en route to Pangkal Pinang city.

The single-aisle Boeing plane is one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger jets.

Images from the crash site showed two divers swim to a support vessel and place an orange-coloured device into a plastic tub.

Photo: AFP

Despite the name, black boxes are in fact bright orange with reflective stripes, and all commercial planes are obliged to have them on board.

They're built to survive at vast depths and in extreme heat, and are fitted with a beacon which can emit a signal for one month.

Black box data help explain nearly 90 per cent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.

"Data from the plane -- the engine, all the instruments -- are recorded there," aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo told AFP.

"If there is an anomaly, some technical problem, it is recorded there too."

DNA testing

Dozens of divers are taking part in the massive recovery effort along with helicopters and ships, but authorities have all but ruled out finding any survivors.

Searchers are still looking for the plane's fuselage and only body parts have been found so far, possibly from passengers seated in parts of the jet that were decimated on impact.

"I assume that there will be a lot of bodies still strapped into the seats," Sudibyo said.

On a Jakarta dockside, Boeing and US National Transportation Safety Board officials joined the Indonesian team in sifting through twisted metal plane parts and a pile of personal effects plucked from the sea, from torn clothing and shoes to wallets and mobile phones.

Authorities are sending recovered remains to hospital for DNA comparison to passengers' relatives.

Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashes into sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta

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    Chief of Indonesia's Lion Air flight JT610 search and rescue operations Muhammad Syaugi looks through recovered belongings believed to be from the crashed flight at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta

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    A pair of infant shoes is pictured among recovered belongings believed to be from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta.

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    There were 189 people on board flight JT610 of budget airline Lion Air when ground staff lost contact with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft early on Monday, 13 minutes after it had left the airport in Jakarta, the capital.

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    Rescue team members arrange the wreckage, showing part of the logo of Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea

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    A crying mother shows a graduation picture of her son, Agil Nugroho Septian, who was a passenger on Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at her house in Tegal, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.

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    Lutfiani shows an undated picture of her husband, Deryl Fida Febrianto, a passenger on Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at her house in Surabaya, Indonesia, October 29, 2018.

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    A witness in the Karawang district said he had heard an explosion from the beach around the time the aircraft went down.

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    Sangeeta Suneja, mother of Bhavye Suneja, a pilot of Lion Air flight JT610 which crashed into the sea, reacts as she leaves for Jakarta, in New Delhi

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    Gulshan Suneja, father of pilot Bhavye Suneja.

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    Sony Setiawan (C) speaks to journalists at Pangkal Pinang airport in Bangka Belitung province on October 29, 2018, following his arrival on another airline after missing his pre-planned flight on Lion Air flight JT 610 which crashed off the coast north of Jakarta. - Setiawan was due to board the ill-fated Boeing-737 MAX but was held up on his commute to Soekarno-Hatta airport by Jakarta’s notorious traffic congestion.

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    A forensics team carries bodies of the victims of Lion Air flight JT610 to Sukanto National Police Hospital, East Jakarta, on Monday. In a statement, Lion Air said human remains had been collected in 24 body bags after sweeps of the crash site, which is about 15 km (nine miles) off the coast to the northeast of Jakarta.

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    Rescue team members carry a body bag with the remains of a passenger.

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    Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati hugs a relative of a victim of the Lion Air flight JT610 crash.

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    The Indonesian authorities have mounted a search and rescue operation for a Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Monday (Oct 29) morning.

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    There are 189 passengers and crew on board the plane, including two infants, one child, two pilots and six cabin crew.

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    The plane plunged into Karawang Bay, West Java province, Mr Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue agency, told a press briefing.

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    The waters at the crash site are around 30m to 35m deep.

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    "On the sea surface, we found debris… The location is two nautical miles from where the plane lost contact," he told reporters.

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    The crash site is near a facility of state-owned oil company Pertamina in West Java province. A video taken from a Pertamina vessel near the crash site showed oil patches on the water surface.

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    Officials said the plane had requested a return to base before finally disappearing from the radar.

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    Local TV footage also showed wallets and mobile phones that had been retrieved from the waters.

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    The head of Indonesia's national transportation safety committee (KNKT) Dr Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters that the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that crashed entered service in August this year and had clocked only about 800 flight hours.

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    When asked on the cause of the crash, Dr Soerjanto said: "We can't presume anything before finding the blackbox and also the recording from the (air traffic control) tower."

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    An Indonedian boatman takes pictures as debris from the ill-fated Lion Air flight JT 610 floats at sea in the waters north of Karawang, West Java province.

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Forensic experts identified Jannatun Cintya Dewi as the first victim of the crash Wednesday evening.

The 24-year-old's coffin arrived in her East Java hometown Sidoarjo Thursday, draped in a green and yellow cloth and inscribed with Arabic writing and carried through the neighbourhood by pallbearers.

Dewi's mother collapsed and had to be carried into their home, while friends and relatives wiped away tears as the casket was laid in a freshly dug grave sprinkled with flowers, with a bowl of fruit and two palm branches at one end.

Aviation experts are puzzled by the accident and say it's too early to determine what caused the crash.

But Lion's admission that the aircraft had an unspecified technical issue on a previous flight -- as well its abrupt nosedive -- have raised questions about whether it had any faults specific to the newly released model, including a speed-and-altitude system malfunction.

The accident has also resurrected concerns about Indonesia's poor air safety record which until recently saw the country's carriers facing years-long bans from entering European Union and US airspace.

Lion Air has been plagued by safety woes and customer complaints over unreliable scheduling and poor service.

The budget carrier has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.

In 2014, an AirAsia crash in the Java Sea during stormy weather killed 162 people.

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