UPDATED| Divers find damaged black box, indicates extreme impact
Yesterday, search efforts for the wreckage of the Boeing 737 that crashed in the sea off Jakarta on October 29, 2018, indicated investigators may be zeroing in on the fuselage of the plane. Their main focus was to recover what will be crucial sources of information in the investigation: flight data and cockpit voice recorders revealing the aircraft’s final moments. In a break-through in those efforts, today, on November 1, 2018, Indonesian officials announced that a "black box" recorder from Flight JT610 has been found by divers.
On October 30, 2018, asked about the cause of the crash, an official with Indonesia‘s National Transportation Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono, said any confirmation of the cause would have to wait until the recovery of the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, or the so-called „black boxes“.
“We will collect all data from the control tower,” said Tjahjono. “The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane and that we will review too. But the most important is the black box,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindustan Times.
On October 31, 2018, several media sources reported that Indonesian investigators searching for the flight recorders of the crashed Flight JT610 have heard underwater "pings" presumably coming from the submerged aircraft. The quest was to confirm the origin of the signals as indeed coming from the wreckage, which would lead to the possible discovery of the devices.
The hunt for the “black boxes”: one down, one more to go
An Indonesian search and rescue team reportedly picked up the “ping” signal on October 30, 2018. The head of Indonesia‘s National Transportation Safety Committee, Ir. Suryanto, told local television outlet TV One that "pings" had been detected no further than 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) from the eight current search points, CNN reports.
The following day, on October 31, 2018, Hadi Tjahjanto, commander of Indonesia's Armed Forces, told the same broadcaster he believed they have located a part of the fuselage. Search ships would be deployed to one particular search point, which they think the signals could be coming from. Divers would be sent to the location to confirm the origin of the signal.
In a major break-through in the hunt, on November 1, 2018, news emerged that divers found one of the flight recorders. One of the divers, identified as Hendra, said the box had been buried in debris on the floor of the Java Sea (the area where the Lion Air plane crashed), BBC reports. A navy diver on board one of the many search vessels told Indonesian Metro TV that his team found the orange cylinder containing the recorder among debris on the muddy sea floor, Reuters writes.
The deputy chief of the transportation safety committee, Haryo Satmiko, indicated the discovered device's poor condition as evidence of the "extraordinary impact" of the plane’s crash. It is not yet clear whether the finding came as a result of the picked-up “ping” signals.
According to Reuters, despite initial reports, which indicated the damaged device was the flight data recorder, authorities did not know for certain whether the “crash survivable memory unit” was indeed from the flight data recorder or, actually, the cockpit voice recorder, since portions of it were missing.
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