A second black box recorder from an Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed killing all 189 passengers has been found.
The cockpit voice recorder from the jet that crashed in October last year could be critical to explaining why a brand new plane fell out of the sky just after take-off, officials said today.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 vanished from radar about 13 minutes after departing Jakarta, slamming into the Java Sea moments after pilots had asked to return to the capital and killing all 189 people on-board.
The bright orange voice recorder was discovered early this morning about 10 metres from a flight data recorder that was pinpointed back in November, authorities said.
More human remains were also found near the voice recorder.
The Lion Air JT-610 cockpit voice recorder being stored inside a special container shortly after it was found underwater, in Jakarta, Indonesia, today
The plane’s previously discovered flight data recorder, which was found in November last year, supplied information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane before it plunged into the sea on October 29.
A preliminary crash report from Indonesia’s transport safety agency suggested that pilots of Flight 610 struggled to control the plane’s anti-stalling system just before the accident.
It also found that the Lion Air jet should have been grounded over a recurrent technical problem before its fatal journey, as it criticised the budget carrier’s poor safety culture.
But it did not pinpoint a definitive cause of the crash and a final report is not likely to come before later this year.
After investigators said the doomed aircraft had problems with its airspeed indicator and angle of attack (AoA) sensors, Boeing issued a special bulletin telling operators what to do when they face the same situation.
The two-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29, killing everyone on board
Haryo Satmiko, deputy head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), said: ‘But it’s broken into two pieces so hopefully it’s still useful’ to investigators.’
If the voice recorder is undamaged, it could provide valuable additional information to investigators.
Jakarta-based aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo said: ‘This will really help the investigation process… and could give some more answers on the cause’ of the crash.’
Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that the agency investigating the crash had informed the ministry about the discovery, which should boost the investigation into the disaster.
‘We got confirmation this morning from the National Transportation Safety Committee’s chairman,’ he said.
Despite the name, black boxes are usually bright orange with reflective stripes, and all commercial planes are obliged to have them on board.
They’re built to survive at vast depths and in extreme heat, and are fitted with a beacon which can emit a signal for one month.
A search effort has located the cockpit voice recorder of a Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, an Indonesian official said on Monday (investigators examining remains, pictured)
Black box data help explain nearly 90 per cent of all crashes, according to aviation experts.
Authorities called off the grim task of identifying victims of the crash in November, with only 125 people identified after tests on human remains that filled some 200 body bags.
Despite a dubious safety record and an avalanche of complaints over shoddy service, the budget carrier’s parent Lion Air Group, which operates five other airlines, has captured half the domestic market in less than 20 years of operation.
It has now become Southeast Asia’s biggest airline group by fleet.
Indonesia’s aviation safety record has improved since its airlines, including national carrier Garuda, were subject to years-long bans from US and European airspace for safety violations, but the country still recorded more than three dozen fatal accidents over the past 15 years.
Nearly 30 relatives of the crash victims have filed lawsuits against Boeing, alleging faults with the 737 MAX led to the deaths.
The single-aisle Boeing plane is one of the world’s newest and most advanced commercial passenger jets.
Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that the agency investigating the crash that killed 189 people had informed the ministry about the discovery
An AoA sensor provides data about the angle at which air passes over the wings and tells pilots how much lift a plane is getting. The information can be critical in preventing an aircraft from stalling.
The plane’s flight data recorder showed that pilots had repeatedly tried to correct its nose from pointing down, possibly after erroneous data from AoA sensors was fed into a system that automatically adjusts some of its movements.
The preliminary crash report stopped short of making any recommendations to Boeing but it has come under fire for possible glitches on the 737 MAX, which entered service in 2017.
The Lion Air crash was 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.
Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.