x

Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Divers recover jet's flight recorder on Indonesia seafloor

The investigation into how the Lion Air crash, which is the country's worst aviation disaster since 1997, continue

Divers recovered a flight recorder on Thursday from the crashed Lion Air jet on the seafloor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the two-month-old plane to plunge into Indonesian seas earlier this week, killing all 189 people on board.

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.

"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, in a television interview. After narrowing the possible location, "I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object," he said, standing on the deck of a ship next to his diving mate.

Indonesian rescue team operate during the recovery mission for the crashed Lion Air flight JT-610 plane at Tanjung Pakis Sea. EPA
Indonesian rescue team operate during the recovery mission for the crashed Lion Air flight JT-610 plane at Tanjung Pakis Sea. EPA

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed early on Monday just minutes after takeoff from the Indonesian capital Jakarta. It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades and renewed concerns about safety in its fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and US blacklists.

Navy Col. Monang Sitompul told local TV that what is believed to be the aircraft's fuselage was also seen on the seafloor.

__________

Read more:

How safe is air travel?

More body parts found from crashed Indonesian jet

About the 737 Max: the plane at the centre of the Lion Air crash

Lion Air executives suspended as crash probe widens

_________

Officials said the location is about 400 meters northwest 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 Monday. 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.

Lion Air has ordered 50 of the MAX 8 planes and one of its subsidiary airlines was last year the first to operate the new generation jet.

Families of the victims of Lion Air flight JT 610, visit an operations centre to look for personal items of their relatives, at the Tanjung Priok port. Getty Images 
Families of the victims of Lion Air flight JT 610, visit an operations centre to look for personal items of their relatives, at the Tanjung Priok port. Getty Images 

Investigators say a preliminary report into the accident could be released within a month but complete findings will take several more months.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The US lifted a decade-long ban in 2016.

Lion Air, a discount carrier, is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.