Indonesia suspends dive search for crashed jet's cockpit recorder

JAKARTA – Indonesia on Wednesday temporarily stopped the search of divers for the cockpit voice recorder of a Sriwijaya Air, which crashed shortly after take-off with 62 people on board.

The search in the Java Sea had to be stopped because of bad weather that caused waves up to 2.5 meters high.

The previous Wednesday, divers had found more debris and a damaged ID card for one of the victims, Navy official Abdul Rasyid told reporters on board the Indonesian naval ship Rigel.

Relatives of passengers on board the missing Sriwijaya Air flight await news at Supadio Airport on the Indonesian island of Borneo on Saturday.LOUIS ANDERSON / AFP – Getty Images

Divers picked up the plane’s flight data recorder (FDR) from the ocean floor on Tuesday and officials said they had also found the beacon attached to the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).

A remote controlled underwater vehicle (ROV) will be used on Wednesday to search the ocean floor, Abdul said, adding that the search has become more complicated as pings are no longer being sent after the beacon disconnects from the CVR.

“We have the ROV re-confirming the location, and tomorrow we’re going to dive and comb this place again,” he said.

Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said on Tuesday that he had “great confidence” that the recorder would be found soon.

The Boeing 737-500 crashed into the Java Sea four minutes after taking off from Jakarta’s main airport on Saturday.

Investigators will rely heavily on the two black boxes to help determine the cause of the crash.

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) expects the FDR data to be downloaded within two to five days.

The FDR has approximately 25 hours of data on eight lanes and the CVR has 30 minutes of talk time, according to the final report on a similar model of a Boeing 737 that crashed in 2008.

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A team from the US National Transportation Safety Board will travel to Jakarta in the coming days to help with the investigation.

The first results from the KNKT showed that the aircraft’s engine was running when it hit the water based on the damage to jet parts that were hauled out of the sea.

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation announced Tuesday that the plane, which was on the ground in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, passed an airworthiness review on December 14 and was returned to service shortly afterwards.

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