Doomed jet's black box recovered from Java Sea, Indonesian media says

Geraldine Edwards
November 4, 2018

Lion Air flight JT 610 was traveling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang when it crashed into the Java Sea on Monday. Rescue and search operations were stepped up on Tuesday as authorities deployed an underwater acoustic beacon to locate the plane's main body and the flight recorder.

Indonesia's navy may have found the crashed Lion Air passenger jet in seas northwest of Jakarta.

The diver added only "small pieces" of the aircraft have been found and the search had gradually closed in on the black box.

The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just months ago, crashed into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to Jakarta on Monday.

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The cause of the crash is not known, although a technical log from the plane's previous flight on Sunday showed one instrument was giving "unreliable" airspeed readings and the captain had to hand over to the first officer. "We believe the fuselage will be around there, we hope that our target can be found".

Budi Karya Sumadi, Indonesia's Transportation Minister, said 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes operated by Lion Air and one operated by Garuda Airlines, Indonesia's national airline, have been grounded and are being inspected and evaluated by the transportation safety committee.

"I was desperate because the current below was strong but I am confident of the tools given to me", said navy 1st Sgt. Hendra, who uses a single name, in a television interview.

To allow for an uninterrupted investigation, Indonesia's transport ministry on Thursday issued 120-day suspensions to Lion Air's maintenance and engineering directors, its fleet maintenance manager, and the engineer who gave the jet permission to fly on Monday, Reuters reported.

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Video of passengers boarding the flight has been broadcast on Indonesian TV.

It shows passengers' boarding passes being checked and people walking along a concourse and then down stairs with bright red and white Lion Air jets visible on the tarmac.

While there is no sign of survivors, rescuers have recovered some bodies and personal items, including baby shoes, the report said.

No distress signal was received from the aircraft's emergency transmitter, search and rescue agency head Muhmmad Syaugi told a news conference.

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Lion Air, headquartered in Indonesia, operates flights in Malaysia flying between Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Jakarta and Surabaya. The country's airlines have previously been banned from operating in the United States and European Union.

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