Divers reported seeing the fuselage and engines of the crashed Lion Air jet on the seafloor and a ping locator has detected a signal that may be from the cockpit voice recorder, Indonesia’s search and rescue chief said on Saturday.
Speaking on the sixth day of the search, Muhammad Syaugi said that two engines and more landing gear had been found. The plane, operating Flight 610, crashed in waters 30 meters (98 feet) deep but strong currents have hampered the search.
“I haven’t seen it myself but I got information from some divers that they have seen the fuselage,” he said at a news conference at a Jakarta port where body bags, debris and passenger belongings are first taken.
The brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta early Monday, kiling all 189 people on board. Local media reported Saturday that the search effort had claimed the life of a diver on Friday evening.
Reuters/Wire/Courtesy of Basarnas
The flight data recorder was recovered on Thursday and Syuagi said a “low ping signal” was detected by a sonar locator that could be the black box voice recorder.
Divers and a remotely operated vehicle have been searching the suspected location since Saturday morning.
Flight tracking websites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude during its 13 minute flight Monday and a previous flight on Sunday from Bali to Jakarta. Passengers on Sunday’s flight reported terrifying descents and in both cases the different cockpit crews requested to return to their departure airport shortly after takeoff.
Lion has claimed a technical problem was fixed after Sunday’s fight. Investigators are still attempting to retrieve information from the flight data recorder’s “crash survivable memory unit” that will help determine the cause of the disaster. It has been damaged and requires special handling, they say.