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Rescue teams detected a signal on the waters of Cape Karawang near Jakarta on Wednesday, which gave the clue to its location.
The mystery of what happened to the Lion Air plane crashed on Monday in the Java Sea with 189 people on board is closer to being resolved. A team of divers found on Thursday one of the two black boxes of the device, essential to clarify what caused a practically new aircraft to fly out of control in the ocean shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital airport on a clear morning.
“We have found one of the black boxes,” Soerjanto Tjahjono, director of the National Committee for Transport Safety of the Asian archipelago, said on Thursday. “We do not know if it is the FDR (flight data recorder) or the CVR (cockpit voice recorder),” he told AFP.
Soerjanto said last night that they detected a regular frequency signal at intervals of less than a second, but that currents and poor visibility made search operations difficult, according to Efe. This agency had previously anticipated that a “sound” had been detected at a location 35 meters deep in the traced area, about 15 kilometres from Karawang Bay on the island of West Java. Indonesia has used ultrasound receivers to locate the signal that the emergency locator transmitter emits from the plane’s black boxes.
“We excavated and found the black box,” said one of the divers, identified as Hendra, on Metro TV. The professional described it as “orange and intact,” and said he was found half-buried under rubble and mud at the bottom of the sea. However, neither the second black box nor the fuselage of the plane has been found, where it is expected that the bodies of most of the 189 occupants of the flight will be found. The Indonesian Army maintains the hope of locating the body of the aircraft soon, after securing on Wednesday that it has the coordinates where it is supposedly located, some 400 meters northwest of where contact with the device was lost, and after discovering in that same lifejackets zone, clothes and magazines that he believes come from the flight.
The finding of one of the black boxes is crucial to advance the investigation of what happened. Although, according to Soerjanto. the inquiries could take half a year. In a month a preliminary report will be published.
So far, the focus has been on the data that has come to light; that the plane, a Boeing 737 MAX released this summer and operated by the Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air, experienced unusual changes in altitude and speed during a flight made the previous day between the tourist island of Bali and Jakarta, according to the website FlightRadar 24. Also, that Lion Air confirmed that there was a “technical problem” on the eve of the tragedy, without specifying which, and that this had been corrected following the relevant protocol. And the flight pilot, Indian Captain Bhavye Suneja, asked the control tower for permission to return to the Jakarta airport only two or three minutes after taking off early Monday on the way to Pangkal Pinang (on Bangka Island) ), a flight that had an expected duration of just one hour. About fifteen minutes later he lost contact with the control tower and plunged into the Java Sea.
It is surmised that the plane broke into pieces when it crashed into the surface of the sea after falling about 1,500 meters in less than 25 seconds, reaching a speed of 480 kilometres per hour, according to Flightradar 24.
Lion Air, which since its founding in 1999 has registered more than a dozen accidents – until now the most serious had been one in 2004, in which 25 people died – is under special scrutiny. The airline was banned for years by the United States and the European Union for violating safety standards, like other Indonesian airlines. How the plane was repaired on Sunday, after the problems experienced in the Bali-Jakarta flight, and why the aircraft was transporting passengers back the following day are some of the questions that Lion Air will be forced to answer.
Pending possible sanctions from the Government of Indonesia, as the Ministry of Transport has anticipated, Lion Air has decided to dismiss for the time being its technical director and several engineers from its technical team. Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi also said on Thursday he could review the prices of low-cost flights to increase the minimums set by airlines following the accident of JT610, the second worst incident in the history of the archipelago the happened to a flight of Garuda Airlines in 1997 in which its 234 occupants died, since at this point is not expected to find survivors.
Four days after the tragedy, the Indonesian police has identified the first victim of the accident. It is a 24-year-old woman, Jannatun Cintya Dewi, an official of the Indonesian Ministry of Energy. “We have examined 48 bags with mortal remains and we have been able to identify the first victim through his fingerprints and dental record,” said General Sudi Suryanto, in charge of the identification tasks, made difficult by the poor state of the ten bodies. for the moment recovered.
Source: El Pais