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Authorities find black boxes, site of Indonesian plane crash

Authorities find black boxes, site of Indonesian plane crash
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Indonesian authorities found the black boxes and the site of Saturday’s plane crash, in which a Boeing 737-500 with 62 people on board plunged into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from the capital Jakarta during heavy rain. 

Officials said they think they tracked down the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, known as the black boxes, for Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, The Associated Press reported Bagus Puruhuito, the head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency, said. 

The location of the black boxes was determined after a navy ship’s sonar system reported receiving emergency signals that aligned with the coordinates of the last contact pilots made before the flight disappeared. 

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Search and rescue efforts found parts of the plane in the sea at a depth of about 75 feet, along with human body parts and pieces of children’s clothing at the surface.

“We received reports from the diver team that the visibility in the water is good and clear, allowing the discovery of some parts of the plane,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said in a statement obtained by the AP. “We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed.”

Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 lost contact with officials at 2:40 p.m. local time (2:40 a.m. ET), about four minutes after taking off from Jakarta as it headed to Pontianak, a city on the island of Borneo. The flight held 12 crew members and 50 passengers, including three babies and seven other children, according to the AP. All were Indonesian.

A transport ministry spokeswoman told Reuters that seconds before the plane disappeared, air traffic control questioned the pilot why the plane was going northwest instead of its planned flight path.

Sriwijaya Air President Director Jefferson Irwin Jauwena told reporters the 26-year-old plane, which had previously flown by U.S. airlines, was airworthy, adding it had gone to Pontianak and Pangkal Pinang city the same day. 

Flight 182 had been delayed an hour before taking off, but Jauwena said this was due to bad weather not mechanical issues, the AP reported. 

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo consoled the nation in a statement, saying “I represent the government and all Indonesians in expressing my deep condolences for this tragedy.”

Boeing released a statement saying its “thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families.”

“We are in contact with our airline customer and stand ready to support them during this difficult time,” the statement reads. 

The disaster comes after a Lion Air flight on a Boeing 737 Max jet crashed in Indonesia in 2018, killing all 189 people aboard. Months later, another 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia, prompting Boeing to ground its plane for 20 months

The plane downed on Saturday did not have the automated flight-control system that contributed to the Boeing 737 Max crashes.