Crews hunt for 'black boxes' of downed Indonesian jet; 24 bodies found


Chairs, wheels and other parts of a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were hauled from the depths on Friday, as authorities analysed black box data that may explain why the new plane plummeted into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.

The passenger plane, flying from Jakarta to an Indonesian tin-mining region, lost contact with air traffic control about 13 minutes after take off on Monday morning, shortly after its pilot had asked to return to base.

Earlier, Budi said Lion Air flight JT610, which served the Jakarta-Pangkal Pinang route, had been certified airworthy and had a valid airworthiness certificate and aircraft registration on the day of the accident.

Personal items recovered from Lion Air flight JT610 by search-and-rescue personnel at the Tanjung Priok port on Wednesday in Jakarta.

"The pilots might have been busy identifying the problem of the plane, so they might not have been focused on monitoring its speed", he speculated.

Indonesia has deployed "pinger locators" in the hunt for the plane's blackboxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are known, at the crash site.

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On Thursday, authorities said they had recovered one of the plane's black boxes, which airlines are required to install in jets, as well as parts of its landing gear.

The recorders send out "pings" created to help investigators find the aircraft should it crash. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board says sophisticated computer and audio equipment is used to extract and translate the data into an understandable format.

Officials displayed one of the jet's two flight recorders at a news conference Thursday evening, later confirmed to be the flight data recorder, and said they would immediately attempt to download information and begin an analysis. Nugroho said it was being shared as an image of the JT610 flight, but this was a "hoax".

The aircraft on Sunday flew erratically and had unreliable airspeed readings.

The FDR is just one of two "black boxes" in passenger aircraft.

On Wednesday, the ministry also ordered that an audit of Lion Air's maintenance, fix and overhaul unit be performed.

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Daniel Putut, a Lion Air managing director, said the airline and Boeing will meet on Wednesday afternoon.

The search had been stopped for the night, said Bambang Suryo, an official of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, although sonar vessels and an underwater drone continued hunting for the wreckage, where many victims were feared trapped.

The aircraft that crashed was just 2 months old, officials said, and Monday's was the first crash for the new 737 MAX 8.

In 2014, an AirAsia crash in the Java Sea during stormy weather killed 162 people.

Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 were flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade.

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

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