Divers re­cover one of jet’s flight recorders from sea floor

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS -

JAKARTA, IN­DONE­SIA » Divers in In­done­sia re­cov­ered one of the crashed Lion Air jet’s flight recorders from the seafloor on Thurs­day, a cru­cial de­vel­op­ment in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what caused the 2-mon­thold plane to plunge into the ocean ear­lier this week, killing 189 peo­ple.

In­done­sian tele­vi­sion 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 searc­hand-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. Af­ter nar­row­ing the pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion, “I started dig­ging and clean­ing the de­bris un­til I fi­nally found an orange ob­ject,” he said on TV, stand­ing on the deck of a ship next to his div­ing mates.

The Boe­ing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed early 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 fast­grow­ing avi­a­tion in­dus­try, which was re- cently re­moved from Eu­ro­pean Union and U. S. black­lists.

Navy Col. Mo­nang Sit­o­m­pul told lo­cal TV an ob­ject be­lieved to be part of the air­craft’s fuse­lage was also seen on the seafloor.

Min­utes af­ter the de­vice was taken out of the sea, Bam­bang Irawan, an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the trans­port safety com­mit­tee, said it was the flight data recorder.

But at a later news con­fer­ence, an­other in­ves­ti­ga­tor, Ony So­eryo Wi­bowo, said they still haven’t de­ter­mined if it’s the flight data or cock­pit voice recorder. It was dis­played in­side a clear con­tainer sub­merged in wa­ter to pre­vent dam­age from rapidly dry­ing out.

“Their forms are sim­i­lar,” he said. Speak­ing about the over­all in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s progress, Wi­bowo said, “We have col­lected data and did find some prob­lems, but it must be in­ves­ti­gated fur­ther.”

The flight data recorder is ex­pected to pro­vide in­ves­ti­ga­tors with de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the flight such as al­ti­tude, air­speed and head­ing. The voice recorder also pro­vides valu­able in­for­ma­tion — not only the cock­pit crew’s voices but en­gine sounds, in­stru­men­ta­tion warn­ings and other au­dio that in­ves­ti­ga­tors can in­ter­pret.

FAUZY CHA­NI­AGO — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An In­done­sian Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Com­mit­tee mem­ber holds a flight recorder that was re­cov­ered from the crashed Lion Air jet in wa­ters off Tan­jung Karawant, In­done­sia.

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