Indonesian investigators were hopeful Wednesday that they could find the second black box of the Boeing which crashed off Jakarta with 62 people on board this weekend.
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The divers recovered the first black box the day before, the flight parameter recorder (FDR), and are now concentrating on finding the cockpit voice recorder.
These recorders could provide crucial information to understand why Sriwijaya Air’s Boeing 737-500 suddenly fell some 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in less than a minute and plunged into the Java Sea on Saturday.
“The research is continuing and we hope for a good result,” Rasman MS, an emergency services official told reporters.
Black boxes, which record the speed, altitude and direction of the aircraft, among other things, help determine the causes of crashes 90% of the time, according to aviation experts.
Authorities have so far not given any clue as to what may have caused the crash of the 26-year-old aircraft.
The US Transportation Safety Agency (NTSB) said on its Twitter feed that it was sending investigators to Jakarta, alongside representatives from Boeing, GE Aviation, the aircraft’s engine maker, and United States Aviation Authority (FAA).
More than 3,000 people are participating in the search efforts at sea, with dozens of boats, helicopters and an underwater robot.
“This operation is not over,” Indonesian commander-in-chief Hadi Tjahjanto said on Tuesday evening. “We will continue to search for the victims and all the remaining parts of the fuselage.”
A total of four victims were identified by comparing their fingerprints to a database, including a 38-year-old pilot who was not on duty.
There were 50 passengers, including 10 children and 12 crew members on the plane bound for Pontianak, a town on the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
Relatives of the victims have been asked to donate DNA samples to help identify the remains.
The crew did not emit a distress signal before the accident and the plane was probably still intact when it touched the water, authorities said according to the first available elements.
The investigation into the cause of the accident could take months but a preliminary report is expected after a month.
The accident sparked online infox, including the publication of photos of a baby allegedly survivor of the accident. But these images actually show a child rescued in 2018 from a boating accident.
This is the first fatal accident involving Sriwijaya Air since the start of this company in 2013, which serves the archipelago and South-East Asia.
But Indonesia’s airline industry has seen regular tragedies in recent years, and several Indonesian airlines were banned in Europe until 2018.
In October 2018, 189 people died in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX operated by Lion Air that also crashed in the Java Sea, twelve minutes after taking off from Jakarta. This accident was subsequently attributed to a problem with the MCAS anti-stall system.
Sriwijaya’s plane does not belong to the controversial new generation of the Boeing 737 MAX but is a “classic” Boeing 737.