Indonesian divers on Tuesday retrieved from the sea bed the flight data recorder of a Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea at the weekend.

On Saturday, the Boeing 737-500 plunged into the sea with 62 people on board, four minutes after takeoff from Jakarta’s main airport. So far, no survivors have been found.

Local media reported that the recording device was being transported to Jakarta port. With few immediate clues on what happened after takeoff, investigators are expected to rely heavily on the flight recorders to determine what went wrong.

It was the second major air crash in Indonesia since 189 people were killed in 2018 when a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX plunged into the Java Sea soon after taking off from Jakarta. The jet that crashed on Saturday was of a largely different design.

“Hopefully we will be able to unveil the mystery of what caused this accident … so this becomes a lesson for all of us to avoid this in the future”, said the chief of the National Transportation Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono, and added that the committee expects to download the data within two to five days.

Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, is highly dependent on air travel. Before the crash, there had been 697 fatalities in Indonesia over the last decade including military and private planes, making it the deadliest aviation market in the world. The Sriwijaya Air plane was nearly 27 years old, much older than Boeing’s problem-plagued 737 MAX model.


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