Enticed by faint pings from the seafloor, Indonesian investigators have determined the general location of the data recorders that will be crucial in discovering what caused the crash of Lion Air Flight 610, one of the deadliest commercial air disasters in years, officials said on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
Divers were zeroing in on the so-called black boxes in the muddy waters of the Java Sea, but strong currents hampered the search, said Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, Indonesia’s armed forces chief.
Based on signals from locator beacons attached to the recorders, a 50-strong team of divers was searching a watery square about 11.5 miles on a side northeast of the capital, Jakarta, said Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of the National Transportation Safety Committee. His committee is leading the investigation in a country plagued by aviation mishaps.
“There is a 70 percent likelihood that we will find the black boxes. The other 30 percent will be our prayers.” – Soerjanto Tjahjono
Minutes after taking off from Jakarta on Monday morning, in clear weather, the brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 jet with 189 people on board plunged into the Java Sea. Its brief flight path, as recorded by FlightRadar24, a flight tracking service, was erratic, full of unexplained descents and increases in speed.
Shortly before the crash, the flight crew had requested permission to return to the Jakarta airport. The plane had experienced an unspecified technical issue the night before, during a flight from the holiday island of Bali to Jakarta, but that problem had been resolved, Lion Air executives said.
Determining what specific problem or chain of events led to the crash is almost impossible without the information stored on the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder.
“From our data, accidents in Indonesia are still mainly caused by human factors,” Soerjanto said. “For technical problems, there are very few. But we still don’t know about this accident.”
Indonesian aviation experts, who examined what they said was the maintenance log from the flight from Bali to Jakarta on Sunday, said the plane had experienced problems with unreliable airspeed readings. While it is difficult to guess what might have caused the crash without the black boxes, aviation experts have raised the possibility that problems with the delicate instruments that gauge speed and altitude could have contributed to the tragedy.
A variety of malfunctions or oversights could lead to inaccurate speed and altitude projections, including electrical glitches or obstructions to the monitoring instruments affixed to the outside of the plane. Part of what is called the pitot-static system, the external probes send three sets of measurements to the flight crew, and any discrepancy between readings is cause for concern, aviation experts said.
WN.com, Jim Berrie
Indonesian investigators have determined the general location of the data recorders that will be crucial in discove… https://t.co/EClKFor0Q8
Factbox: ‘Black boxes’ the focus of probe in Indonesia’s Lion Air crash https://t.co/VG3ZIUKHhQ
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