Lion Air crash: Divers find device believed to be plane ‘black box’


CNN affiliate CNN Indonesia showed images of divers retrieving a device, which is thought to house flight data, commonly known as a “black box.”

Video showed the device being brought on board one of the rescue ships in the sea off Jakarta Thursday, four days after the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet disappeared off radar during a routine short-haul flight.

CNN Indonesia reports that Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency BASARNAS confirmed that it had found at least one flight recorder.

CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said that there are two parts to a black box — a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) which records audio from the cockpit, and a flight data recorder (FDR). They’re usually both housed in the tail of the aircraft.

While it’s possible that the divers have found only one one device, in the event of a crash they’re usually found within 50 to 100 feet of each other, Schiavo said. The devices are designed to withstand the impact of a plane crash and are waterproof.

Monday’s ill-fated flight crashed 13 minutes after takeoff. It was supposed to be a one-hour flight to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka.

Officials: Plane experienced flight issues the previous day

The jetliner had experienced technical issues the day before on another route, passengers aboard that flight revealed to CNN.

On Sunday the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft — a new plane, which only had around 800 flying hours on the clock — had flown Lion Air’s Bali-Jakarta route and had experienced a significant drop in altitude, said passenger Robbi Gaharu.

According to Gaharu, a management consultant and frequent flier, Sunday’s Flight JT43 from Bali to Jakarta was around two hours late taking off from the Indonesian resort island.

Lion Air jet one of Boeing's newest, most-advanced planes

When passengers eventually boarded, he said “things looked normal,” but when the plane took off, “it felt as if it was struggling to ascend.”

“I thought maybe it was caused by turbulence. After ten minutes in the air the plane dropped as if it was losing power. People panicked. It dropped about 400 feet,” said Gaharu, adding that he had confirmed the height of the drop on a flight tracker website.

He said the drop felt like falling into “a really really deep hole.”

Gaharu said that the seatbelt light remained on throughout the flight, and he saw the pilot and copilot outside the cockpit, “carrying what looked like a thick book.”

Lion Air crash: Indonesia to inspect all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes

Bamnang Warsuta, a consultant who said he was also on the flight, described his terror as the plane suddenly dropped.

“I screamed. Everybody screamed. And then (I) just prayed to god.”

The president of Lion Air confirmed to CNN that the aircraft that crashed on Monday had been used to fly the JT43 Bali-Jakarta route the day before, and Indonesian authorities confirmed that the pilot on Sunday’s flight reported a problem with one of the plane’s instruments.

Expert: ‘Something going on in that cockpit’

While no information has been released yet as to why the brand-new plane crashed into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff, FlightRadar24 has published data that shows the plane behaving erratically during takeoff.

When a plane would normally be ascending in the first few minutes of flight, the Lion Air jet experienced a 726-foot drop over 21 seconds.

Aviation expert David Soucie told CNN that the flight’s last moments were “outside of the normal manual flight mode.

“There was something going on in that cockpit. Or something they were battling against in the autopilot.”

Passengers’ personal effects retrieved, ID’ed

On Wednesday, authorities started bringing relatives to the dockside to identify victims’ personal belongings, which lay piled up next to cushions and other debris that appeared to be from the aircraft.

Items fished out of the sea showed wallets and other personal effects, including a child’s Hello Kitty purse.

Children's shoes, wallets, backpacks confirm fates of Lion Air victims

Epi Syamsul Qomar, whose 24-year-old son was on the flight, broke down into tears when he recognized his son’s shoe.

“I saw my son’s black sneaker,” he told CNN. “I also saw his bank checkbook.”

Qomar said he believes the body of his son, Muhammad Ravi Andriyan, is still inside the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Edi Amin contributed to this report.

Source : Nbcnewyork