Indonesia Discovers Sriwijaya Airline Cockpit Voice Recorder

Indonesian Navy Jakarta (AP) —Indonesian Navy divers recovered Sriwijaya Air’s cockpit voice recorder, which crashed into the Java Sea in January, and killed all 62 people on board, officials said Wednesday.

Transport Minister Budi Kariya Sumadi said the diver had recovered the cockpit recorder around 8 pm local time Tuesday. It is near the place where the flight data recorder was recovered three days after the accident.

The contents of the recorder were not immediately available. However, this device could help investigators identify the cause of the Boeing 737-500’s plunge into the sea in heavy rain shortly after taking off from Jakarta on January 9.

If the voice recorder is undamaged, it can tell investigators what the pilot was doing or did not, and could regain control of the plane during a short, unstable flight.

Investigators recovered airplane parts and bodies from the area between Lankan and Raki islands in the Thousand Islands, just north of Jakarta. Flight data recorders tracked hundreds of parameters that indicate how the plane is being operated.

Most of the search work was done about two weeks after the crash, but the cockpit voice recorder’s search for missing memory units was limited and seemed to be detached from the rest of the device during the crash.

The bright orange voice recorder was taken to Jakarta and handed over to the National Transportation Safety Board, which oversees the accident investigation.

“We hope that KNKT can share information about what is included in this VCR and improve aviation safety,” Sumadi said, referring to the acronym of the Indonesian Transport Safety Board.

KNKT chair Soerjanto Tjahjono said the device would be taken to the investigator’s “black box” facility. It takes 5-7 days to dry and clean the device and download the data, he said.

“No CVR … It will be difficult to determine the cause of the plane crash,” Chajono said. “We will disclose it transparently to avoid similar accidents in the future,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Rashid Kakon, commander of the Navy’s western region, said the voice recorder was buried under 1 meter (3 feet) of seabed mud at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet). He said the diver removed the debris and performed a “sludge removal” operation to reach the voice recorder.

Data from an inconclusive preliminary research report shows that while the autopilot is operating, the throttle lever of the airplane’s left engine moves backwards on its own, reducing its engine power before the jet falls into the sea. I showed that I was allowed to do it.

The report provided new details on the permanent issues with autothrottle on the 737-500 Sriwijaya Air Jet and the airline’s efforts to fix them. The pilot can use the autothrottle to automatically set the speed, reducing engine workload and wear.

It may also help answer questions to those who have lost their lives in a disaster.

“We sincerely welcome the discovery of CVR … This is some relief from our despair,” said Raffic Yusuf Alydras, whose wife Panka Widia Nursanti (teacher) died in the crash. It was.

“I hope this can answer the cause of the crash, especially for those of us who have lost loved ones,” he said.

The 26-year-old jet was unavailable for almost nine months before resuming commercial flights in December due to pandemic flight cuts.

The disaster rekindled concerns about the safety of the aviation industry, which has grown rapidly with the economy since the collapse of the dictator Suharto in the late 1990s. The United States banned Indonesian airlines from operating domestically in 2007, but lifted the restriction in 2016 due to improved compliance with international aviation standards. The European Union lifted a similar ban in 2018.

Sriwijaya Air has had only minor safety accidents in the past, but in 2008 a farmer died when the plane left the runway during landing due to hydropower problems.

In 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet operated by Lion Air crashed shortly after taking off from an airport in Jakarta, killing 189 people. An automated flight control system played the role of the crash, but Sriwijaya Air’s jets did not have it.


Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini and Edna Tarigan contributed to this report.