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Indonesia Officials Recover Voice Recorder from January Plane Crash

Members of National Transportation Safety Committee carry a box containing the cockpit voice recorder of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 that crashed in January, after a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 31, 2021.

Officials with Indonesia’s transport ministry said Wednesday they have recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from the Sriwijaya Air jet airliner that crashed into the Java Sea nearly three months ago.

The ministry announced the discovery and displayed the so-called “black box” during a news conference at a port in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

The officials say Indonesian navy divers recovered the CVR Tuesday and say they hope it will help them determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 to suddenly nose-dive into the ocean shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on January 9.

The say the recorder was discovered on the seabed not far from where the first flight recorder was found shortly after the accident. While the first recorder contained data from the ill-fated flight, the CVR contains actual conversations of the flight crew.

National Transport Safety Committee chief Soerjanto Tjahjojo told reporters the voice recorder had lost its beacon and after about a month and a half of searching with their usual detection equipment, they decided to change their methods.

He said they ended up using a dredge that “worked as a vacuum cleaner” and finally found it after searching a 90 x 90 square meter area.

Tjahjojo said it will take up to seven days to dry and clean the device and to download its data. Then they we will read and transcribe it to match it with the flight data in hopes of determining what happened in the cockpit as the accident occurred.

A preliminary report by the agency suggested an imbalance in the engine thrust may have forced the aircraft into a roll, but the investigation is continuing.

The 26-year-old jet had been out of service for almost nine months because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, officials previously said.

It resumed commercial flights in December.