Indonesian rescue divers have discovered the black box of the Lion Air flight which crashed this week with 189 passengers on board. The black box was brought back to a ship on the surface, one of the divers told media on Thursday, Reuters reported.
No passenger survived the crash. However, a few intact bodies were found.
“We dug and we got the black box,” from among debris in the mud on the sea floor, the diver, Hendra, told broadcaster Metro TV on board a search vessel. It was orange in colour and intact, he said, without saying whether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, both commonly referred to as black boxes.
Only “small pieces” of the aircraft had been found, the diver said, adding that the search had gradually closed in on the black box. Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, only confirmed the finding of “an orange object”.
The plane’s black boxes can provide an explanation as to why the almost-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet went down in waters about 35 metres (115 ft) deep just off Jakarta, the capital. A “ping” sound believed to be emitted by one of the black boxes had been getting clearer, Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of the national transport safety panel, told Reuters earlier on Thursday.
An underwater drone had detected an object suspected to be part of the fuselage, he added. A team of divers had gone down since 5 a.m. to map the area where the black box is thought to be, Haryo said, describing sea conditions as normal.
Energy pipelines near the search are along with strong currents on Tuesday hampered the search. However, officials had said they were confident they were searching in the right area, having found items, such as life jackets, trousers and magazines, thought to be from the plane.
If found, the fuselage would be lifted using a crane, because of the many bodies likely to be trapped inside, Muhammad Syaugi, the chief of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, said on Tuesday.
Earlier, the US extended its deepest condolences for the victims. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Indonesia in this time of sorrow. Preparations are underway to assist the Indonesian government in its investigation of this tragic accident,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
“The Unites States extends its deepest condolences to those who lost family and loved ones in the October 29 plane crash in Indonesia,” she said in a statement.
The pilot of the plane was an Indian who died in the crash, confirmed the Indian Embassy in Jakarta.