The cockpit voice recorder of Lion Air flight 610 that crashed shortly after takeoff in the waters off the country’s Java coast in late October, has been found Indonesian officials said Monday.
Lion Air Flight 610 plummeted into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, in late October, killing all 189 people on board.
Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of the country’s transportation safety committee, confirmed to media in a text message on Monday morning that the cockpit voice recorder had been found, according to a Reuters report.
A new search was launched on 8 January using the naval ship KRI Spica. The move came after a 10-day search funded by Lion Air failed to find the missing black box. The airline used a specialised ship at a reported cost of USD 2.8 million to search a section of sea floor where the fuselage of Lion Air Flight 610 is believed to be buried in mud.
The two-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from the capital, Jakarta, on 29 October.
The flight data recorder was recovered in early November and data retrieved from the device appears to support a theory amongst investigators that a computerised system Boeing installed on its latest generation of 737s to prevent the aircraft from stalling instead forced the nose down resulting in a high-speed impact with the water.
The recovery of the cockpit voice recorder could provide further insight into the steps taken by the pilots as the aircraft’s course became violently erratic in the minutes after takeoff.
Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, also said on Monday that human remains had been discovered on the seabed, The Associated Press reported.
In what amounts to Indonesia’s worst air disaster in two decades, the pilots on Lion Air Flight 610 battled to control their B737 Max 8 only moments after takeoff as faulty data from a sensor repeatedly forced the aircraft to tilt its nose down, according to Indonesia’s preliminary report, based on evidence from the aircraft’s flight data recorder.
The report by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee last month didn’t find a cause for the crash, but it showed that a malfunctioning sensor wasn’t repaired before the fatal flight – even though it failed on the plane’s previous trip, and it criticised Lion Air’s safety culture.
Meanwhile, Lion Air’s owner Rusdi Kirana has begun drafting documents to scrap its USD 22 billion of orders with Boeing because, Kirana says, the manufacturer unfairly implicated his airline in the disaster. Lion Air is the third largest customer for the new B737 MAX 8.
Lawsuits have also begun against Boeing by families of the victims, with the family of the Indonesian co-pilot adding to litigation piling up against the manufacturer. This lawsuit alleges the Boeing 737 MAX 8 was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inconsistent information. Instruction manuals provided by Boeing with the two-month-old aircraft were allegedly insufficient. At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Boeing in Chicago by the families of Lion Air victims.