Efforts intensify to recover black boxes after Boeing 737 crash in Java Sea near Jakarta
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – The search for the black boxes of a crashed Sriwijaya Air plane intensified on Monday to strengthen the investigation into what prompted the plane carrying 62 people to plunge at high speed into the Java Sea .
The Boeing 737-500 plane disappeared minutes after taking off from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, during heavy rains on Saturday, and searches so far have revealed plane parts and human remains, but no sign of survivors.
Authorities said signals from boxes containing cockpit voice and flight data recorders were detected between Lancang and Laki Islands in the Thousand Islands chain just north of the coast of Jakarta. Officials said they marked a spot where the sounds were emitted by the black boxes, which detached from the tail of the plane when it plunged into the sea.
The cockpit voice recorder keeps conversations between pilots and the data recorder tracks electronic information such as airspeed, altitude and vertical acceleration. Once found, they will be transported to the port and turned over to the National Transportation Safety Committee which is overseeing the crash investigation.
More than a dozen helicopters, 53 navy ships and 20 boats and 2,600 rescuers have searched since Sunday and found parts of the plane in the water at a depth of 23 meters, prompting rescuers to continue. their research in the area.
TV footage showed undercarriage, wheels and a jet engine among the parts found, while other rescuers brought a dozen body bags containing human remains to a police hospital in east Jakarta for the identification process.
National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bagus Puruhito said divers using high-tech ping locator equipment were looking for an identified target under 20 meters of seabed mud.
Transport committee chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said the black boxes could provide valuable information to investigators. Once the device is found and transported to investigators’ premises, it will take three to five days to dry and clean the device and download its data, Tjahjono said.
He said it took longer to analyze it, “depending on the complexity of the problem.”
Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said he collected tapes and transcripts of the conversation between the pilot and the air traffic controllers as part of their investigation into the cause of the crash.
Utomo said his team was still examining radar data on the plane’s movements and interviewed air traffic officers tasked with controlling the crashed flight. Further witness interviews, including airline technicians, fishermen and experts, will be conducted in the near future.
Investigators are investigating all parts of the plane found by researchers from the seabed, such as the Ground Proximity Warning System, a device that could warn the pilot if the plane is too close to the ground, a radio altimeter and several other parts. mainly from the low side of the tail of the plane, Utomo said.
He said the Singapore Transportation Safety Board will help its committee find the black boxes and the United States National Transportation Safety Board will join the crash investigation.
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 260 million inhabitants, has been plagued by land, sea and air transport accidents due to overcrowded ferries, aging infrastructure and safety standards poorly applied.
In October 2018, a Boeing BA,
The 737 Max 8 plane operated by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. The plane involved in Saturday’s disaster lacked the automated flight control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another 737 Max 8 crash in Ethiopia five months later, resulting in the ‘immobilization of the Max 8 for 20 months. .
The Lion Air crash was Indonesia’s worst air disaster since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda airline flight near Medan on the island of Sumatra. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya in Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.
Sriwijaya Air has only had minor incidents in the past, although a farmer was killed in 2008 when a plane went off the runway during landing due to a hydraulic problem.
The United States banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, then reversed the decision in 2016, citing improvements in compliance with international aviation standards. The European Union has already had similar bans, lifted in June 2018.