Black box confirms both engines on Indonesian jet WERE working when it smashed into the sea last week, as mystery surrounds cause of the crash
- Flight Data Recorder has been recovered from the seabed by diving team
- Part of the cockpit voice recorder is still missing and could provide vital clues
- Funeral for one of the victims – Okky Bisma, a flight attendant – held on Thursday
- A reported 36 body bags have been recovered from the wreckage of flight SJ182
- It plunged 10,000ft into the Java Sea within four minutes of takeoff from Jakarta
A black box from an Indonesian jet which crashed minutes after take-off last week has confirmed that both engines were working when it smashed into the sea.
Divers hoisted the flight data recorder (FDR) of the Sriwijaya Air plane from the seabed and downloaded the data in hopes of solving the mystery surrounding the cause of the crash.
The data successfully downloaded from the FDR confirmed that both of the 26-year-old Boeing Co 737-500’s engines had been operating when it hit the water, according to Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT).
News that the plane’s engines were both working means the cause remains unknown – though investigators revealed on Friday that they had recovered the plane’s second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
Naval officers said they had recovered the body and homing beacon portions of the voice recorder, and are now searching for the memory unit that could contain vital clues about what caused the plane to crash last Saturday, killing 62.
A black box from an Indonesian jet which crashed minutes after take-off last week has confirmed that both engines were working when it smashed into the sea. Pictured: An Indonesian rescue team worker walks past debris found in the waters around the location of the crash site
Police officers carry part of the aircraft recovered from Java Sea where the Sriwijaya Air passenger jet crashed
Members of the Indonesian navy carry recovered debris from flight SJ 182 that has been recovered from the sea
The KNKT had previously stated that it believed both engines had been fully operational at the time of Flight SJ182’s crash based on the wreckage.
The FDR contained 330 parameters which were ‘all in good conditions’, the KNKT said in a statement on Friday.
Parameters are a reference to the amount of data recorded from various aircraft systems including the flight path, speed, engine power and flaps configurations.
Experts say most recorders have a strengthened housing containing the memory or tape, a chassis designed to fix it in place and an underwater locator beacon.
Abdul was confident divers would find the memory unit within the next few days, adding that a plane’s black boxes were usually strong and could withstand a considerable impact.
The KNKT plans to issue a preliminary report within 30 days of the crash, in line with international standards, the agency’s head told Reuters on Thursday.
The search operation, which was initially planned for a week, has been extended for three more days to find more victims and recover parts of the plane.
The Sriwijaya crash is the biggest airline disaster in Indonesia since October 2018, when 189 people were killed onboard a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX that plunged into the Java Sea soon after take-off.
Diving teams are continuing to search for debris as well as the remains of the 62 people on board the plane when it crashed
A command centre has been set up at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, where remains and debris have been collected
Pictures from Jakarta showed 36 body bags laid out on the ground, containing the remains of some of the victims
On Thursday, the funeral for one of the victims of the air crash – Okky Bisma, a flight attendant – was held, with pictures showing his wife in mourning as his coffin was carried to his grave before being lowered into the ground.
It came as the remains of some of the 62 people killed in the crash were sprayed down with disinfectant after being recovered from the wreckage.
Pictures from Jakarta showed 36 body bags laid out on the ground, as Red Cross workers sprayed them down at Tanjung Priok port, which has acted as a base of operations for the rescue efforts.
Workers wearing hazmat suits and chemical tanks on their backs were seen walking between the bodies, spraying disinfectant as they moved up and down the rows.
Rescuers have found parts of the plane and human remains at a depth of around 75ft.
Workers wearing hazmat suits and chemical tanks were seen walking between the bodies, spraying disinfectant as they moved up and down the rows on Thursday. 36 body parts and one bag of debris have been recovered from the crash site of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182
Pictures from Jakarta showed a reported 36 bodies laid out in rows on the ground of a dock, and disaster response workers spraying the body bags with disinfectant
An Indonesian Red Cross worker sprays disinfectant on bags containing body parts of passengers of the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182, which crashed into the Java sea, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14
While the exact cause of the crash remains unknown, Tempo newspaper on Thursday reported the plane had experienced recurring problems with the autothrottle system that automatically controls the engine power settings since returning from storage last month.
Sriwijaya did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said if the autothrottle system was not working, the pilots could control the settings manually with their hands.
Indonesian divers have resumed a search for the remaining bodies of the 62 victims and the cockpit recorder, officials said on Thursday
An Indonesian rescue worker stands in front of bags with body parts of passengers of the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182, which crashed into the Java sea, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 14
An airline pilot who was not authorised to speak publicly said it was considered acceptable for a plane to fly when the autothrottle system was not working, though it would increase the pilot workload and could prove distracting in an emergency situation.
Most air accidents are typically caused by a range of factors that can take months to establish, according to safety experts.
Indonesia’s transport ministry revealed on Tuesday that the Sriwijaya Air jet had passed an airworthiness inspection last month, having been grounded between March and December because of the pandemic.
Members of Indonesian search and rescue (SAR) carry bags containing human body parts from Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 at Tanjung Priok port, north of Jakarta on January 14
The plane – a Boeing B737-500 – is understood to have fallen 10,000 feet in less than 60 seconds just four minutes after it took off
The Boeing 737-500 passed its inspection on December 14, flew five days later with no passengers and then resumed commercial flights on December 22, the transport ministry said.
Initial findings by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) showed a jet engine was running when it hit the water, based on damage seen on parts retrieved from the sea.
‘The damage on the fan blade showed that the engine was still working on impact,’ KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said – ruling out a mid-air break-up as the explanation for Saturday’s disaster.
‘This is consistent with the hypothesis that the plane’s system was still working at an altitude of 250ft,’ he said, noting the plane was transmitting data at that altitude.
The flight data recorder was found after a navy ship picked up pings being emitted by the black boxes, at least one of which was buried in seabed mud under tons of sharp objects in the wreckage.
Aldha Refa, wife of Okky Bisma, a flight attendant and one of the 62 people aboard Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 which crashed shortly after takeoff on January 9, mourns at the grave of his husband during a funeral ceremony in Jakarta on January 14
People carry the coffin of Okky Bisma, a flight attendant and one of the 62 people aboard Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182
People place the coffin of Okky Bisma, a flight attendant and one of the 62 people aboard Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182
A colleague holds a photo of Okky Bisma, a flight attendant and one of the 62 people aboard Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182, at his funeral in Jakarta on Thursday
Actually coloured bright orange, the boxes are built to survive at vast depths and in extreme heat, and are fitted with a beacon which can emit a signal for one month.
Navy chief admiral Yudo Margono said at least 160 divers were searching for the devices on Tuesday, while more than 3,600 rescue personnel, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats also search the area.
So far, the searchers have sent 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts who on Monday said they had identified 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma as one of the victims.
His wife, Aldha Refa, who is also a flight attendant for Sriwijaya Air, shared her grief in a series of posts on social media.
‘My husband is a loving, devout and super kind man,’ she wrote on Instagram. ‘Heaven is your place, dear … be peaceful there.’
The Indonesian navy vessel KRI Semarang looms over rescue boats piloted by navy divers and other rescue workers on Tuesday
A rescue worker wearing a mask holds a piece of wreckage after the Boeing 737 came down in less than a minute on Saturday
Navy divers stand on a rubber boat during the search and rescue operation, as it emerged that the plane had passed an airworthiness inspection only weeks before the catastrophe
Indonesian rescue workers move a plastic container carrying one of the black boxes off their rubber boat in waters off Jakarta
Family members have been providing samples for DNA tests and police say results are expected in four to eight days.
A child’s Marvel backpack was among the items found by the search team as they sifted through the wreckage from the plane which had plunged 10,000ft in a minute before the crash.
National Police spokesman Rusdi Hartono said about 53 samples for DNA testing have been collected but more are still needed, especially from parents and children of victims.
All 62 passengers and crew aboard the flight were Indonesian, including seven children and three babies.
The plane’s captain, Afwan, a 54-year-old father of three, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was a former air force pilot with decades of flying under his belt.
His nephew Ferza Mahardhika told BBC Indonesia that the pilot had left home quickly on the day of the flight, complaining that ‘his shirt hadn’t been ironed, when usually he is really neat’.
Afwan also apologised to his children for having to leave home to board the doomed flight.
Ferza Mahardhika said: ‘He was a very good man. He often gave advice, wise advice. He was a prominent figure in his neighbourhood and was well-known for his kindness.’
Indonesian divers scouring the Java Sea for the wreckage of the plane which crashed on Saturday have found a huge amount of debris and passenger belongings
A child’s Marvel backpack was among the distressing items found by the search team as they sifted through the wreckage
Underwater footage of their rescue mission shows the divers examining the huge amount of debris from the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500
Shrapnel from the Sriwijaya Air plane was lifted from the crash site around the Thousand Islands as investigators say the jet was likely intact when it smashed into the water
Health workers spray disinfectant over body bags containing human remains recovered from the crash site of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 at the port in Jakarta on January 10
Another passenger, Ratih Windania, posted a selfie with her three children laughing as the family boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital. She said: ‘Bye bye family. We’re heading home for now.’
Her brother Irfansyah Riyanto said the family were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute. ‘Pray for us,’ he wrote on Instagram.
His sister and her two children had been at the end of a three-week holiday and were taking the 460 mile trip home to Pontianak on the island of West Kalimantan.
‘I was the one who drove them to the airport, helped with the check-ins and the luggage … I feel like I still can’t believe this and it happened too fast,’ Irfansyah said.
Rapin Akbar, who gave a blood sample to the hospital to help police identify any bodies retrieved, had five relatives on board including an older sister, a nephew and his wife and their seven-month-old baby.
‘(My nephew) had planned to go back to Pontianak on Sunday but changed his mind and decided to fly on Saturday instead,’ the shocked Akbar told AFP news agency.
‘He called me to say the flight was delayed and sent me a picture of their baby. It was (their) first.’
At the police hospital, the brother of co-pilot Diego Mamahit said he had been asked for a blood sample.
‘I believe my younger brother survived, these are just for the police procedure,’ Chris Mamahit said. ‘Diego is a good man, we still believe Diego survived.’
On his LinkedIn profile, Mahamit had written ‘I really love to fly.’
Underwater divers were searching for the plane’s black boxes which will help explain why the jet plunged so quickly
An investigator with Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said the jet possibly broke apart when it hit waters based on debris found so far
Investigators have so far been unable to say why the 26-year-old plane crashed just four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta
The plane’s captain, Afwan, a 54-year-old father of three, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was a former air force pilot with decades of flying under his belt
Ratih Windania posted a selfie with her three children laughing as they boarded a plane in Indonesia on Saturday in a heartbreaking final message
The family’s final message was sent just before they boarded the plane from the Indonesian capital after a three-week holiday
They were originally planning to take a different flight but they changed at the last minute
Irfansyah said his relatives (pictured at the airport) had originally been due to take an earlier flight operated by Sriwijaya’s unit NAM Air and he was unclear why that was changed
Also on board was Dinda Amelia, who had gone to Jakarta on holiday for her 15th birthday, seaman Angga Fernanda Afrion who became a father for the first time last week, and newly-married couple Ihsan Adhlan Hakim and Putri Wahyuni.
Agus Minarni and Muhammad Nur Kholifatul Amin travelled to Jakarta to attend the funeral of Amin’s father and visit their son at boarding school.
A family of five is also missing from the flight, with Rizki Wahyudi, 26, his wife Indah Halimah Putri, also 26, their 7-month-old son, and Wahyudi’s mother and cousin all on board the flight.
They were due to fly home on January 5 but were made to take a Covid test which delayed their flight until Saturday.
Minarni’s brother Yudiansyah Yunus said he will now take care of the couple’s orphaned teenage children.
Father and businessman Yohanes Suherdi is also feared dead after he took a work trip to Jakarta and was due to fly back to his family.
His wife Susilawati Bungahilaria told CNN she spoke with him shortly before take off.
‘His last message to me was not to forget to take our son to see a doctor because he had a fever,’ she said.
Indonesian Navy sailors are seen on the KRI Semarang as it is docking and preparing to continue rescue process for Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182
A health worker sprays disinfectant at a large part of a plane recovered from the waters off Java Island where Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 crashed on Saturday, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia
Rescuers have discovered body parts and pieces of clothing during a desperate search for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182
Indonesian rescue members check a body bag as a huge team continues their search to find wreckage and passengers
Officials are seen inspecting one of the engines recovered from the crash of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ18
A fisherman named Solihin told the BBC that he had been at sea when he witnessed the plane crash into the water near to his ship.
‘The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water. It was pretty close to us, the shards of a kind of plywood almost hit my ship.
‘We thought it was a bomb or a tsunami since after that we saw the big splash from the water.
‘It was raining heavily and the weather was so bad… We were very shocked and directly saw the plane debris and the fuel around our boat.’
Locals on a nearby island said they heard two explosions before discovering metal pieces, cables and fragments of a pair of jeans floating in the sea.
President Joko Widodo offered sympathy to all of the victims on Sunday.
‘We are making our best efforts to find and rescue the victims and we all pray that they can be found,’ he said.
The missing plane is an older model than the Boeing 737 MAX jet involved in two earlier fatal crashes – including the Indonesian Lion Air crash in 2018 which killed 189.
That accident – and another in Ethiopia – saw Boeing hit with $2.5 billion in fines over claims it defrauded regulators overseeing the 737 MAX model, which was grounded worldwide following the accidents.
Sriwijaya Air, which flies to destinations in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has said little about the plane, which was previously flown by US-based Continental Airlines and United Airlines.
The Indonesian carrier has not recorded a fatal crash since it started operations in 2003.
Rescuers are seen bringing up one of the engines. At 2.40pm – just four minutes after takeoff – the Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 10,000ft in less than 60 seconds
Navy divers are seen retrieving wreckage from the aircraft. Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi on Sunday said authorities launched a widespread search for the Boeing 737-500 after narrowing down ‘the possible location of the crash site’
The Boeing B737-500 plunged nearly 3,300 metres in less than 60 seconds to an altitude of just 75 metres. Pictured: debris discovered in the ocean
Navy divers pull out a part of an airplane out of the water during the search operation for the Sriwijaya Air passenger jet
A medical officer sprays disinfectant onto the washed up debris as rescuers desperately search for survivors
The National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia (BASARNAS) conduct a search and rescue operation
A plane flies over Indonesian search and rescue teams scattered in several points as they look for debris
Police asked families to provide information to help identify any bodies retrieved such as dental records and DNA samples
These pieces were found by the SAR team between Lancang Island and Laki Island, National Search and Rescue Agency Bagus Puruhito said
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