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Data Recorder Recovered from Indonesian Plane Crash

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Divers of the Indonesian Navy have recovered the flight data recorder from Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, which crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off on Saturday with 62 people on board.

The remains of some victims were also brought ashore in dozens of body bags, officials said. So far, four victims have been identified. No survivors of the flight are expected.

The quick recovery of the flight data recorder, sometimes referred to as a “black box” and one of two on the plane, helps officials understand why the 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 was just four minutes after take off from Jakarta, the capital. The plane flew to Pontianak on the island of Borneo, a flight of about 90 minutes.

The divers retrieved the flight data recorder from the wreck in about 75 feet of water between the islets of Lancang and Laki, officials said.

The Boeing had two data recorders on opposite ends of the aircraft: a flight data recorder in the rear of the aircraft, which can provide information about the mechanical operation of the jet during its short flight; and a cockpit voice recorder that records the conversation between the pilot and the copilot.

Investigators hope that analyzing the information found on both devices can provide a clear picture of what happened during the flight.

The plane crashed nearly 300 meters shortly after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. The wreck extends over an area of ​​about 300 meters in length and 300 meters in width, the authorities said.

The relatively compact size of the debris field is consistent with an airplane that did not explode before hitting the water.

Each data recorder has an acoustic underwater beacon that emits a signal in the event of a crash to help those searching for the recorder to recover.

But in this case, the acoustic beacon broke away from the cockpit voice recorder and was found separately, said Indonesian Armed Forces commander Hadi Tjahjanto.

Divers continue to search for the recorder itself, he told reporters.

“We are sure that the cockpit voice recorder will also be found,” he said.

Sriwijaya Air released a statement that the aircraft had received a certificate of airworthiness from the Ministry of Transport that was valid until December 17, 2021.

A ministry spokeswoman Adita Irawati said the aircraft’s certificate of operation was renewed in November.

“Sriwijaya Air met the conditions set,” she said.

The latest crash adds to a list of previous airline tragedies in Indonesia. Air Asia Flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea off the coast of Borneo in December 2014. In October 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 plunged into the Java Sea northeast of Jakarta a few minutes after take-off.

Dera Menra Sijabat reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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