One black box of crashed Indonesian plane retrieved
Jakarta, Nov. 1 (IANS): Indonesian authorities on Thursday confirmed the recovery of one of the two black boxes of the Lion Air plane that plunged into the Java Sea earlier this week, killing all 189 people on board.
National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) official Irdriantono told Efe news that divers found the flight data recorder, while the search was still on for the cockpit voice recorder.
Amid the ongoing search and rescue efforts, the Indonesian police identified the first victim of the crash. The passenger was named Jannatun Cintya Dewi, a 24-year-old woman from Sidoarjo, East Java, and a civil servant for the Energy Ministry in Jakarta, the Guardian reported.
Highlighting the gruesome nature of the task, Brigadier General Hudi Suryanto, in charge of the Automatic Finger Print Identification System, said investigators had identified the first victim after finding her right hand.
The search and rescue team retrieved the black box from a depth of around 30 metres after detecting a continuous signal from the waters off Cape Karawang, near Jakarta — the spot where the plane had crashed — since Wednesday.
NTSC experts will analyze the device, which could take up to six months, although a preliminary report was expected within a month, according to the Committee’s head Soerjanto Tjahjono.
Irdriantono, however, said that the process could take up to a year as they would have to extract the data and verify it against existing information.
In addition to the recorder, some parts of the plane’s fuselage had also been found, NTSC Deputy Director Haryo Satmiko was cited as saying by CNN.
The cockpit voice recorder was yet to be found, but was believed to be located on the seabed, some 35 metres deep.
The remains of at least a dozen people had been retrieved from the sea so far, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).
Poor visibility in the waters, a muddy marine bed and strong currents had hampered search operations. Rains were also expected late on Thursday, which could add to the woes of rescue workers, the report said.
The Lion Air flight JT 610 flown by Indian captain Bhavye Suneja disappeared from the radars on Monday morning, 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta towards Pangkal Pinang on the Indonesian island of Bangka.
The reason behind the crash was not known yet, but the aircraft was said to have experienced technical problems on its penultimate flight.
The pilot had asked Air Traffic Control for permission to turn back to the airport but did not send a distress signal, officials said.
Lion Air had sacked its Technical Director Muhammad Asif as part of the investigation into the incident.