Indonesian searchers find black box from crashed jet

Saul Bowman
November 4, 2018

Indonesia's Kompas TV reported that the black box of downed Lion Air Flight JT-610 has been found and retrieved in the Java Sea by search teams.

Navy divers continue recovery operations of the Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea on Monday in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 was delivered to Lion Air in mid-August and put in use within days, according to aviation website Flightradar24.

"However, it has not yet been confirmed that it is part of the fuselage".

Boeing officials were expected to meet with Lion Air on Wednesday, after Indonesia ordered an inspection of the USA plane maker's 737-MAX jets.

Divers recovered a flight recorder Thursday from the wreckage of a Lion Air jet in the Java Sea, a crucial discovery that may help investigators determine how a new plane fell out of clear skies in one of the worst commercial air disasters in recent years.

But according to the transport safety committee, the plane had technical problems on its previous flight on Sunday, from the city of Denpasar on the resort island of Bali, including an issue over "unreliable airspeed".

Two passengers on the Sunday Bali-bound flight interviewed on Indonesian TV recalled unsettling details such as a odd engine sound, a smell of burnt cables, and panicked passengers crying out for God to save them as the plane rapidly lost altitude.

He told the USA news outlet the plane felt as if it was "struggling to ascend" before it suddenly dropped "as if it was losing power".

"The bigger picture here is that you've got a lot of American carriers flying the same aircraft", said Stephen Wright, aviation expert at the University of Leeds.

A massive search effort has identified the possible seabed location of the crashed Lion Air jet, Indonesia's military chief said on Wednesday, as experts carried out the grim task of identifying dozens of body parts recovered from a 15 nautical mile search area.

The Lion Air pilot who was flying the airline's ill-fated 737 MAX the day before it crashed near Jakarta, killing 189, issued a "pan pan" alert and made a request to ATC to turn back to Bali because of technical problems.

Daniel Putut, a Lion Air managing director, said the airline and Boeing will meet on Wednesday afternoon. It did not say how many technicians had been suspended.

Boeing declined to comment about potential inspections globally.

Search teams have taken up the grim task of separating human remains from plane debris and recovered personal effects, sending the body parts - including from an infant - to hospital for DNA testing.

"We are certain that not far from the site there is the fuselage of the plane".

The reason for the accident is yet unknown, making the retrieval of the black box all the more important as it could provide clues to the cause of the accident.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency has all but ruled out finding any survivors from the high-impact crash.

THE pilot on the doomed Lion Air jet's previous flight, from Bali, made a distress call to traffic controllers just minutes after takeoff due to technical problems, but chose to push on to Jakarta after the problems seemed to resolve, it has been revealed. The pilot and co-pilot, totaled more than 11,000 hours of flight time and had recently passed a medical examination and drug testing.

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