Divers recover jet's flight recorder on Indonesia sea floor

Divers In Indonesia Find Crashed Airliner's 'Black Box'

The flight data recorder is expected to provide investigators with detailed information about the flight such as altitude, airspeed and heading.

The government has vowed "strict sanctions" on Lion Air if a probe by the safety board proves negligence on the part of the airline, the ministry said on October 31.

While victims' relatives are desperate to know what happened, the investigation of the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry.

The black box could offer investigators their best chance of discovering why such a new jet crashed.

"We hope that [the main wreckage] can be found tonight, including the black box, because the "pings" were heard", said Muhammad Syaugi, head of the Indonesian national search-and-rescue agency, speaking late Wednesday.

Although the sea floor is only about 30 metres down, strong currents and energy pipelines in the area have hampered search efforts.

The last major accident in Indonesia was in December 2014 when an AirAsia Indonesia's Airbus A320 aircraft crashed into the waters after taking off from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board. The pilot had asked to return to the airport not long after the plane took off.

TV showed footage of two divers after they surfaced, swimming to an inflatable vessel and placing the bright orange device into a large container that was transferred to a search-and-rescue ship.

Downloading the data on flight recorders can take as little as two hours but analysing it can take weeks.

Another picture is a selfie taken by the flight attendants, who we assume were onboard the plane when the selfie was clicked.

Passengers' remains are being sent to hospital for DNA identification, with the first funeral for one of the passengers held on Thursday.

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More than four days after Lion Air flight JT610 carrying 189 people lost contact, Indonesian search crews have fished out little else than small pieces of the aircraft, body parts of victims and personal belongings.

The privately owned budget carrier was founded in 1999.

Lion Air now has 10 737-MAXs in its fleet while Garuda has one.

It will now be subjected to more intensive "on ramp" inspections than other airlines, authorities said.

The minister also said that airlines were required to conduct processes to determine the aircraft's fitness for flight, such as periodic maintenance, during the documents' validity periods.

Indonesia is one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets. Its transport safety panel investigated 137 serious aviation incidents from 2012 to 2017.

The pilot of a Lion Air flight from Indonesia's Bali island on Sunday made a radio alert minutes after takeoff because of technical problems, but they were overcome and he pushed on to Jakarta.

"The Lion plane requested to return back to Bali five minutes after take-off, but then the pilot said the problem had been resolved and he was going to go ahead to Jakarta", said the pilot of another plane who said he listened in to a radio conversation between the Lion Air pilot and air-traffic controllers.

Lion Air's admission that the jet had a technical issue on a previous flight - as well as its abrupt fatal dive - have raised questions about whether it had mechanical faults such as a speed-and-altitude system malfunction.

On a Jakarta dockside Thursday, Boeing and US National Transportation Safety Board officials joined the Indonesian team in sifting through twisted metal plane parts and piles of passengers' torn clothing, shoes, wallets and mobile phones.

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