Black boxes located at Indonesian airliner crash site
Rescuers searching for the wreckage of an Indonesian passenger jet that crashed into the ocean with 62 people on board on Saturday say they have located the plane’s black box flight recorder and obtained communications data.
The head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Commission told CNN that they have located two different locations for the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) from Sriwijaya Air Flight 182.
Suryanto Cahyono said that both the CVR and FDR — which are known as black boxes — are transmitting intermittent ping signals to a receiver that can “detect and locate the black boxes.”
Cahyono added that the special device will yield a more accurate result in comparison to ping locators or sonar gear that are installed on ships, and said that it is now in the hands of divers from the Indonesian Navy.
Earlier on Sunday evening, Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, said they are “receiving two signals from the black box and are continuing to monitor it.” He added that he hoped to retrieve it soon from the seabed, 23 meters (approximately 75 feet) below the surface.
The Sriwijaya Air flight 182 — a Boeing 737-500 — was heading from Jakarta to the city of Pontianak, on the Indonesian side of Borneo, when it lost contact at 2:40 p.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET), 11 nautical miles north of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Four minutes into the flight, and amid heavy rains, the plane dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute before disappearing from the radar, according to the global flight tracking service Flightradar24.
Commander Fajar Rohadi, Spokesperson of First Fleet of Indonesian Navy, told CNN on Sunday that the navy had yet to retrieve the large structure of the fuselage, but had retrieved human body parts and pieces of the plane.
Five body bags containing victims of the crash located by the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) have so far been handed over to the Jakarta-based disaster victim investigation unit for identification, according to mission coordinator Rasman MS.
Aviation disaster investigators have obtained communications data from air traffic control and the pilot, according to Captain Ray Nurcahyo, an NTSC investigator.
Three NTSC investigators are at the crash site with search and rescue teams. So far, they have recovered some components and instruments from the flight, including the Ground Proximity Warning System, radio altimeter, emergency landing support and the tail of the plane.
National Transportation Safety Board USA has assigned Michael Hauff, their accredited aircraft crash expert, to fly to Indonesia to investigate.
Rescue operations are continuing round the clock, but divers stopped the search for the night and will resume on Monday morning.
A command post set up at the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in Jakarta to identify the crash victims and search for family members was working to identify the remains, Tjahjanto said.
The focus of the search is between the islands of Laki and Lancang, known as the Thousand Islands chain, about 20 miles northwest of Jakarta. Some 28 ships, five helicopters and two airplanes have been deployed in a joint effort between the Indonesian Navy, Police, Coast Guard and Transportation Ministry.
Prayers for victims
Divers retrieved pieces of debris from the site that are the same color as the Sriwijaya Air aircraft, Air Chief Marshal Tjahjanto said at a press conference from the John Lie Warship.
A plane registration number, wheels from the landing gear and life vests have also been uncovered, Tjahjanto said, adding that visibility and conditions in the water were good.
“We sent two investigators with Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency to the sea to do a location survey. We need to find more information on the location, for example to determine what gear we are going to use regarding the underwater terrain we have,” Suryanto Cahyono told CNN.
On Sunday, Indonesia President Joko Widodo offered his condolences and urged people to pray for crash victims.
“We will do our best to find and save the victims, and together, let’s pray that they can be found,” he said at the Presidential Palace, according to Reuters. “In the name of the government and Indonesian people we would like to express our condolences on what has happened.”The missing plane was carrying 50 passengers — 43 adults and 7 children — as well as 12 crew members, according to Indonesia’s Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi. He extended his condolences for those who died in the incident.
Family members have been gathering at the victim identification center in Jakarta, waiting for news of their loved ones.
A family of five are missing and feared dead, according to an aunt of the family who spoke to CNN. The family released a statement saying that the father, 26-year-old Rizki Wahyudi who worked for the Indonesian
Forestry Commission, his 26-year-old wife Indah Halimah Putri, their 7-month-old son, as well as his mother and cousin, were on the flight that crashed.