Lion Air jet voice recorder, human remains found

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on January 14th, 2019

Jakarta, Indonesia: Indonesia Navy divers have found the cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air plane more than two months after the Boeing Co 737 MAX jet crashed into the sea near Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board, search officials said on Monday.

Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that remains of some of the 189 people who died in the crash were also discovered at the seabed location.

“We got confirmation this morning from the National Transportation Safety Committee’s chairman,” he said.

A spokesman for the Indonesian navy’s western fleet, Lt. Col. Agung Nugroho, said divers using high-tech equipment found the voice recorder beneath 8 metres (26 feet) of seabed mud. The plane crashed in waters 30 metres (98 feet) deep.

The 2-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing everyone on board.

The cockpit data recorder was recovered within days of the crash and showed that the jet’s airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights.

If the voice recorder is undamaged, it could provide valuable additional information to investigators.

The Lion Air crash was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

Separately, Colonel Johan Wahyudi told Metro TV the recorder had been retrieved and taken aboard the ship.

Boeing did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Monday.

A preliminary report by Indonesia’s transport safety commission, or KNKT, focused on airline maintenance and training, as well as the response of a Boeing anti-stall system and a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a cause for the crash.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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