Lion Air crash: Investigators recover 69 hours of flight data from black box


Posted

November 04, 2018 23:24:12

Investigators have retrieved hours of data from the flight recorder of the Lion Air jet that crashed off Jakarta on October 29, killing 189 people on board.

Key points:

  • Fourteen of 189 victims identified from recovered remains
  • Search for victims extended by three days
  • Investigators still searching for second black box

The news came as Indonesian authorities on Sunday extended the search at sea for victims and debris.

National Transportation Safety Committee deputy chairman Haryo Satmiko told a news conference that 69 hours of flight data was downloaded from the recorder including its fatal flight.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crashed just minutes after take-off from Jakarta on October 29 in the country’s worst airline disaster since 1997.

The flight data recorder was recovered by divers on Thursday in damaged condition and investigators said it required special handling to retrieve its information.

The second black box — a cockpit voice recorder — has not been recovered but searchers are focusing on a particular area based on a weak locator signal.

“From here we will analyse what happened to that flight,” Nurcahyo Utomo, head of Indonesia’s transportation safety committee, told reporters.

Analysis of the data and a recovered aircraft landing gear and engine will begin on Monday and information will be passed to police if needed, Mr Utomo said.

Search extended by three days

The National Search and Rescue Agency chief Muhammad Syaugi said on Sunday the search operation, now in its seventh day and involving hundreds of personnel and dozens of ships, would continue for another three days.

Mr Syaugi paid tribute to a volunteer diver, Syahrul Anto, who died during the search effort on Friday.

The family of the 48-year-old refused an autopsy and he was buried on Saturday in Surabaya.

As of Sunday a total of 105 body bags, few containing intact remains, had been recovered and handed to police for forensic identification, yet only 14 victims had been identified.

“I’m sure the total will increase,” Mr Syaugi said, adding remains were also now washing up on land.

The second black box is thought to be around 50 metres from the main search area, where the water is only 30 metres deep, but ocean currents and mud on the sea bed that is more than a metre deep have complicated search efforts.

Mr Syaugi said a considerable amount of aircraft “skin” was found on the sea floor but not a large intact part of its fuselage as he had indicated was possible on Saturday.

Patchy safety record

The pilot of flight JT610 had asked for, and received, permission to turn back to Jakarta, but what went wrong remains a mystery.

Flight tracking websites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude during its fatal 13-minute flight and a previous flight the day before from Bali to Jakarta.

Passengers on the Bali flight reported terrifying descents and in both cases the different cockpit crews requested to return to their departure airport shortly after take-off.

Lion Air has claimed a technical problem was fixed after the Bali fight.

The first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry.

Preliminary findings of the investigation are expected to be made public after 30 days.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets but its safety record has been patchy.

The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan.

In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.

“There’s still a lot we need to improve,” Air Transportation Director General Pramintohadi Sukarno said at a press conference on Saturday, referring to safety rules.

AP/Reuters

Topics:

disasters-and-accidents,

accidents,

air-and-space,

indonesia



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