JAKARTA – Indonesian navy divers searching the ocean floor on Tuesday recovered the flight data recorder from a Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board.
The device is expected to help investigators determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 to nosedive into the ocean in heavy rain shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday.
The 26-year-old jet had been out of service for almost nine months because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. It resumed commercial flights last month.
TV stations showed divers on an inflatable raft with a large white container containing the flight data recorder heading to a Jakarta port.
Military chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said the plane’s other “black box,” the cockpit voice recorder, was likely to be found soon because its beacon was being emitted in the same area.
The devices were buried in seabed mud under tons of sharp objects in the plane's wreckage, navy Chief Adm. Yudo Margono said. He said at least 160 divers were deployed Tuesday in the search.
More than 3,600 rescue personnel, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats are searching the area just north of Jakarta where Flight 182 crashed and have found parts of the plane and human remains in the water at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet).
So far, the searchers have sent 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts who on Monday said they had identified their first victim, 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma.