Voice recorder from crashed Lion Air jet found

The cockpit voice recorder of the Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October has been found, an Indonesia official said.

Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that the National Transportation Safety Committee had informed the ministry about the discovery.

He said human remains were also discovered at the seabed location.

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 all 189 people on board.

Indonesian navy frogmen emerge from the water during a search operation (AP)
Indonesian navy frogmen emerge from the water during a search operation (AP)

A spokesman for the Indonesian navy’s western fleet, Lt Col Agung Nugroho, said divers using high-tech “ping locator” equipment had started a new search effort on Friday and found the voice recorder beneath 26ft of seabed mud. The plane crashed in waters 100ft deep.

The device is being transported to a navy port in Jakarta, Lt Col Nugroho said, and will be handed over to the transportation safety committee, which is overseeing the accident investigation.

“This is good news, especially for us who lost our loved ones,” said Irianto, the father of Rio Nanda Pratama, a doctor who died in the crash.

“Even though we don’t yet know the contents of the CVR, this is some relief from our despair.”

The plane’s cockpit data recorder was recovered within days of the crash and showed that the jet’s airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights.

If the voice recorder is undamaged, it could provide valuable additional information to investigators.

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 people 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 south-east Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

- Press Association

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