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Indonesia Recovers Black Box Recorders from Crashed Boeing 737-500

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Jakarta, Indonesia Recovers Black Box Recorders from Crashed Boeing 737-500

Indonesian authorities on Sunday located the black boxes of the Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the sea soon after taking off from the capital Jakarta, as human body parts and pieces of the plane were retrieved.

The Boeing 737-500 with 62 passengers and crew was headed on a domestic flight to Pontianak in West Kalimantan on Saturday before it disappeared from radar screens four minutes after take-off.

Indonesia National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) chief Soerjanto Tjahjono said the locations of Flight SJ 182’s two black boxes had been identified. “Hopefully, we can retrieve them soon,” said military chief Hadi Tjahjanto, without giving an estimated time frame.

Search will continue into the night, a search and rescue official said, but efforts will be limited to sonar scans by boats.

There were no clues yet as to what caused the crash, the first major aircrash in Indonesia since 189 passengers and crew were killed in 2018 when a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max in 2018 also plunged into the Java Sea soon after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Even before the latest crash, more people had died in air cashes in Indonesia than in any other country over the past decade, according to Aviation Safety Network’s database.

Pieces of wreckage were brought to Jakarta port by rescuers, including the plane’s altimeter radar, emergency chute and a piece that was suspected to have come off of the bottom part of the plane’s tail, KNKT official Nurcahyo Utomo said.

One twisted piece of metal was painted in Sriwijaya Air’s blue and red colours. Authorities said they came from a depth of 23 metres (75 feet) near a group of islands off the Jakarta coast. Indonesian authorities said they had also retrieved body parts and clothing.

Police asked families to provide information such as dental records and DNA samples to help identify bodies. The Boeing 737-500 plane had 12 crew and 50 passengers on board, all Indonesians and including 10 children.

President Joko Widodo, speaking at the palace in Bogor, expressed “deep condolences” over the disaster and urged the public to pray the missing people could be found.

Meanwhile, distraught relatives waited in Pontianak about 740 km (460 miles) from Jakarta for news of their loved ones. At Jakarta’s main airport a crisis centre was set up for families.

“We feel powerless, we can only wait and hope to get any information soon,” Irfansyah Riyanto, who had five relatives on the flight, told Reuters.

Tracking service Flightradar24 said the aircraft took off at 2:36 p.m. local time (0736 GMT) and climbed to reach 10,900 feet within four minutes. It then began a steep descent and stopped transmitting data 21 seconds later.

There were no immediate clues on what caused the sudden descent. Most air accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors that can take months to establish, safety experts say.

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