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Indonesian divers find crashed Lion Air jet’s second black box

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian authorities will download on Monday the contents of a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from a Lion Air jet that crashed more than two months ago, killing all 189 people on board, after it was retrieved from the sea near Jakarta.

FILE PHOTO – Wreckage recovered from Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, lies at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

The crash was the world’s first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018, and the recovery of the aircraft’s second black box earlier on Monday may provide an account of the last actions of the doomed jet’s pilots.

“We have our own laboratory and personnel team to do it,” Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of the transportation safety committee, told Reuters.

Satmiko said it had in the past taken up to three months to download, analyze and transcribe the contents of recorders.

Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off on Oct. 29 from the capital, Jakarta, heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.

A preliminary report by Indonesia’s transport safety commission focused on airline maintenance and training, as well as the response of a Boeing anti-stall system and a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a cause for the crash.

A group of relatives of victims urged the transportation safety committee to reveal “everything that was recorded” and to work independently.

Navy officer Lieutenant Colonel Agung Nugroho told Reuters a weak signal from the recorder was detected several days ago and it was found buried deep in soft mud on the sea floor in water about 30 meters deep.

“We don’t know what damage there is but it has obvious scratches on it,” Nugroho said.

Pictures supplied by an official from the transportation agency showed bright orange paint on the CVR memory unit chipped, but no major dents.

Nugroho said human remains had been found near where the CVR was discovered, about 50 meters from where the crashed jet’s other black box, the flight data recorder (FDR), was found three days after the crash.

Investigators brought in a navy ship last week after a 10-day, 38 billion rupiah ($2.70 million), effort funded by Lion Air failed to find the recorder. Bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems had hampered the initial search.

The L3 Technologies Inc CVR was designed to send acoustic pings for 90 days after a crash in water, according to an online brochure from the manufacturer.

That would mean that after Jan. 27, investigators could have faced a far bigger problem in finding the CVR buried along with much of the wreckage deep in mud on the sea floor..

Boeing did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Since the crash, Lion Air has faced scrutiny over its maintenance and training standards, and relatives of victims have filed at least three lawsuits against Boeing.

Additional reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Fergus Jensen and Tabita Diela; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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CVR

Lion Air ends search for second black box but Indonesian investigators to launch their own

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JAKARTA (Reuters) – Lion Air said on Thursday it had ended its search for the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from its Boeing 737 MAX jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October but Indonesian investigators plan to launch their own as soon as possible.

Indonesian customs officers patrol at a search area for Lion Air flight JT610 in Karawang waters, Indonesia, November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The crash, the world’s first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018, killed all 189 people on board.

Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off from the capital Jakarta heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.

The main wreckage and cockpit voice recorder, one of two so-called black boxes, were not recovered in an initial search.

Lion Air said in December that it was funding a 38 billion rupiah ($2.6 million) search using the offshore supply ship MPV Everest in what was seen as a rare test of global norms regarding search independence, as such costs are typically paid by governments.

Danang Mandala, the spokesman for Lion Air Group, told Reuters that the search using the ship had ended on Saturday.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT), however, said on Thursday the agency would to start its own search for the black box as soon as feasible.

The CVR is likely to hold vital clues that could give investigators insight into the actions of the pilots.

The KNKT spokesman said negotiations with the Indonesian navy were under way to use a navy ship to relaunch the search for the second black box as soon as possible.

“It might be as soon as next week. It won’t be as fancy as the (Lion-subsidized) MPV Everest but will be equipped with a CVR detector and we already have a remote-operated vehicle,” the spokesman said.

The clock is ticking in the hunt for acoustic pings coming from the L3 Technologies Inc cockpit voice recorder fitted to the jet. It has a 90-day beacon, the manufacturer’s online brochure shows.

The family of the Indonesian co-pilot of the flight filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against Boeing in Chicago, adding to litigation piling up against the manufacturer in its hometown. [L1N1YX156]

A preliminary report by KNKT focused on airline maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor but did not give a cause for the crash.

The lawsuit alleges that the Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inconsistent information to both the pilots and the aircraft.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Boeing in Chicago by the victims.

The families of victims were not immediately reachable for comment.

Reporting by Cindy Silviana & Fanny Potkin; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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