Indonesia intensifies search for crashed Sriwijaya Air's black boxes
(Sourced from PTI)
The search for the black boxes of a crashed Sriwijaya Air jet intensified on Monday to boost the investigation into what caused the plane carrying 62 people to nosedive at high velocity into the Java Sea. The Boeing 737-500 jet disappeared minutes after taking off from Jakarta Airport during heavy rain on Saturday.
Officials said that they have marked a location where the sounds were being emitted from the black boxes, which detached from the tail of the aircraft when it plummeted into the sea.
Around 20 helicopters, 100 navy ships and boats, and 2,500 rescue personnel are involved in the search operation, which so far has yielded plane parts and human remains but no signs of survivors. Authorities said, "Signals from the boxes containing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were detected between Lancang and Laki islands in the Thousand Island chain just north of Jakarta's coast."
The cockpit voice recorder holds conversations between pilots, and the data recorder tracks electronic information such as airspeed, altitude, and vertical acceleration. When found, they will be transported to the port and handed to the National Transportation Safety Committee overseeing the crash investigation.
Television footage showed landing gear, 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 eastern Jakarta for the identification process. The National Search and Rescue Agency Chief, Bagus Puruhito said, "Divers using high-tech "ping" locator equipment were looking for an identified target beneath 20 meters of seabed mud."
Soerjanto Tjahjono, the transport committee chairman said, "The black boxes could provide valuable information to investigators. Once the device is found and taken to the investigators' facility, it will take three to five days to dry and clean the device and to download its data." "It needs more time to analyze it, depending on the complexity of the problem," he added.
Worryingly, Indonesia has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea, and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure, and poorly enforced safety standards. In October 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet 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 did not have the automated flight-control system that played a role in the Lion Air crash and another crash of a 737 MAX 8 jet in Ethiopia leading to the grounding of the MAX 8 for 20 months.