Indonesian divers will attempt to retrieve data loggers from a Sriwijaya Air plane on Monday after it plunged into the sea two days ago with 62 people on board just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s main airport.
Flight SJ182 was heading to Pontianak on the island of Borneo, about 740 km (460 miles) from Jakarta on Saturday, before disappearing from radar screens four minutes after takeoff and crashing into the Java Sea.
Authorities have identified the area where the data loggers, known as black boxes, are located on Sunday as they lifted pieces of the Boeing 737-500’s fuselage from the seabed.
Rescuers also found the remains of the deceased passengers and crew as well as their personal effects.
One of the Navy divers aboard a rescue vessel said the search would resume on Monday with improving weather conditions.
“We can reduce the search area today to 200 to 500 meters from the location of the point,” he told Kompas TV station.
“On the first day we had driven 1-1.5 km (from the main coordinates). We have looked through the outer areas now.
Nurcahyo Utomo, an Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) investigator, said authorities hoped to find the black boxes on Monday.
He told Reuters that the jet may have been intact before it hit the water, given that the debris found so far had been scattered in a relatively narrow area underwater.
One of the aircraft’s turbines was found and shipped back to a port in Jakarta on Sunday.
The incident is the first major plane crash in Indonesia since 189 passengers and crew were killed in 2018 when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX also plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from the l Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
Sriwijaya Air’s plane had 12 crew members and 50 passengers on board, all Indonesians and including 10 children.
Tracking service Flightradar24 said the plane took off at 2:36 p.m. local time and climbed to 3,300 meters (10,900 feet) in four minutes. It then begins a steep descent and stops transmitting data 21 seconds later.
There was no immediate clue as to the cause of the sudden descent. Most aircraft accidents are caused by a number of factors that can take months to establish, according to safety experts.
The pilots had decades of experience with each other with the captain a former Air Force pilot and his co-pilot at Sriwijaya Air since 2013, according to his Linkedin profile. The plane’s take-off was delayed by heavy rain.
Sriwijaya Air’s plane was a nearly 27-year-old Boeing 737-500, much older than the troubled Boeing 737 MAX model. Older 737 models are widely used and lack the stall prevention system involved in the MAX safety crisis.