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Indonesian Navy divers search ocean floor Tuesday recovered flight data recorder of a Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed in the Java Sea with 62 people on board.

The device is expected to help investigators determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 plane to sink into the ocean in heavy rain shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday.

Television stations showed the divers in an inflatable boat with a large white container carrying the device and Jakarta Port.
Members of the National Transportation Safety Committee carry a box containing the flight data recorder of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 recovered from the Java Sea, where the passenger plane crashed during a press conference in the port of Tanjung Priok, Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (AP)

The military chief, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, said the plane’s other “black box”, the cockpit voice recorder, would likely be found soon because its beacon was broadcast in the same area.

The devices were buried in the mud on the seabed under tons of sharp objects in the wreckage of the plane, Naval Chief Admiral Yudo Margono said.

It said at least 160 divers were deployed Tuesday in the search.

More than 3,600 rescue personnel, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats are searching the area north of Jakarta where Flight 182 crashed and have found parts of the plane and human remains in the water at a depth of 23 meters. .

Divers with the Indonesian Navy position their rubber boat near the signaling buoys as the search for the wreckage of the crashed Sriwijaya Air passenger plane continues in the Java Sea near Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP)
An Indonesian Navy plane flies by as the search continues for the wreckage of the crashed Sriwijaya Air passenger plane in this aerial photo taken over the Java Sea. (AP)
So far, researchers have shipped 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts who on Monday said they had identified their first victim, 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma.

His wife, Aldha Refa, who is also a flight attendant for Sriwijaya Air, shared her grief in a series of posts on social media.

“My husband is a loving, devoted and super kind man,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Heaven is your place, my dear … keep the peace there.”

Distressed relatives have been providing samples for DNA testing, and the National Police’s disaster victim identification unit said it has identified three more victims, including the co-pilot.

Habib Sy Rafik al Idrus shows a photo of his wife Panca Widia Nursanti, one of the passengers on a Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed into the sea. (AP)

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said the US National Transportation Safety Board will join in investigating the accident.

NTSC President Soerjanto Tjahjono ruled out a possible airborne break after seeing the status of the remains found by searchers.

He said the jet was intact until it hit the water, concentrating the debris field, rather than spreading it over a large area as would be seen with an airborne event.

Mr. Tjahjono said that plane it had continued to send altitude data until it descended to 75 meters above the surface of the water.
An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Committee inspects parts of aircraft debris recovered from the Java Sea, where a Sriwijaya Air passenger plane crashed. (AP)

The disaster has rekindled safety concerns in Indonesia’s aviation industry, which grew rapidly after the economy opened after the fall of dictator Suharto in the late 1990s.

The United States banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, lifting the action in 2016, citing improvements in compliance with international aviation standards.

The European Union lifted a similar ban in 2018.

Last year, Indonesian aviation was significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic that led to travel restrictions and a drop in demand among travelers.

Sriwijaya Air has only had minor safety incidents in the past, although a farmer was killed in 2008 when a plane ran off the runway while landing due to a hydraulic problem.

In 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane operated by Lion Air crashed and killed 189 people.

An automated flight control system played a role in that accident, but the Sriwijaya Air plane did not have such a system on board.


www.9news.com.au

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