Indonesian navy divers began searching Monday for the flight recorders from the passenger jet that crashed Saturday in the Java Sea.
Sriwijaya Air Flight SJ182 disappeared from radar just four minutes after taking off from Jakarta en route to Pontianak, the capital of the West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo, carrying 62 passengers and crew, including 10 children.
Search and rescue crews on Sunday pinpointed the location of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, known as “black boxes, after locating debris from the crashed plane.
Flightradar24, the flight tracking service, said the Boeing 737-500 jetliner “lost more than 10,000 feet of altitude in less than one minute.”
Divers have already recovered remains of several people on board the plane, along with various pieces of debris, including landing gear, wheels and one of the plane’s turbine engines.
Bambang Suryo Aji, an official with Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters Saturday the debris will be sent to the National Commission on Transportation Safety.
At least 53 naval vessels and 2,600 rescue personnel are taking part in the recovery operation.
Saturday’s crash is the latest entry in Indonesia’s troubled aviation sector, which has been plagued by safety concerns. A series of deadly crashes, including the 1997 crash of a Garuda jetliner that killed all 234 people aboard, and the 2014 crash of an Indonesian AirAsia jet in the Java Sea that killed 162 people, prompted both the United States and the European Union to ban Indonesian airlines from entering their respective airspaces for several years.
Saturday’s crash was the first since a Lion Air jet crashed into the Java Sea soon after takeoff in 2018, killing all 189 passengers and crew. That plane was a Boeing 737 MAX, the same model that was involved in another deadly crash several months later in Ethiopia. Both crashes were blamed on a faulty automated flight control system that led to the grounding of the entire 737 MAX fleet.
The Boeing 737-500 plane that crashed Saturday had been in operation for 26 years.
Voice of America – English