Authorities yesterday said that they had pinpointed the location of two black boxes from a crashed Indonesian jet, referring to cockpit voice and flight data recorders that could help explain why the aircraft went down with 62 people aboard.
The announcement came as divers pulled body parts, wreckage and clothing from waters near Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.
“We have located the position of the black boxes, both of them,” said Soerjanto Tjahjanto, head of the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee. “Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully it won’t be long before we get them.”
The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 went into a steep dive about four minutes after it left Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta on Saturday afternoon.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his “deep condolences,” and called on citizens to “pray together so that victims can be found.”
However, the frantic search involving helicopters and a flotilla of warships appeared to offer no hope of finding any survivors.
The Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency said that it had so far collected five body bags with human remains, as well as debris from the crash site in the Java Sea.
A piece of child’s clothing, a broken tire and wheel, life jackets and wreckage from the plane’s body were found, authorities and reporters on the scene said.
Among the passengers was Beben Sofian, 59, and her husband Dan Razanah, 58.
“They took a selfie and sent it to their kids before taking off,” the couple’s nephew, Hendra said.
All 62 people on board, passengers and crew, were Indonesian, authorities said.
The count included 10 children.
Distraught relatives waited nervously for news at the airport in Pontianak, the city on Indonesia’s section of Borneo island which had been Flight SJ182’s destination, about 90 minutes flying time over the Java Sea.
“I have four family members on the flight — my wife and three children,” Yaman Zai said on Saturday evening. My wife “sent me a picture of the baby today... How could my heart not be torn into pieces?”
Data from FlightRadar24 indicated that the airliner reached an altitude of nearly 3,350m before dropping suddenly to 76.2m. It then lost contact with air traffic control.
Poor weather, pilot error or a technical problem were potential factors, Jakarta-based aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman said.
“But it’s way too early to conclude anything,” he added. “After the black box is found we can start putting the puzzle together.”
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