Lion Air Flight 610, operated from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, crashed October 29, 2018, thirteen minutes after takeoff killing 198 people. On Monday, Indonesian Navy divers managed to recover the black box cockpit voice recorder, which was found beneath 26 feet of seabed mud.
The divers transported the black box to a port in Jakarta, where it was delivered to the National Transportation Safety Committee, which is investigating the accident. There is little information on why the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea minutes after leaving Jakarta, though the pilot had requested permission from air traffic control to return to the airport. Minutes later all contact was lost. It believed that the plane shattered into pieces when it hit the water at high speed.
The voice recorder was found 165 feet from where the plane’s flight data recorder was located three days after the crash. The cockpit data recorder revealed that the aircraft’s airspeed indicator had failed on its last four flights, which contradicted Lion Air’s claims that all problems with the plane had been resolved before it embarked on its final flight. The BBC has reported that the voice recorder was “broken into two pieces.”
The preliminary investigation report also revealed that the plane's nose pointed down 26 times on the 11-minute flight despite attempts by the pilots to manually raise the nose higher. Investigators hope to recover additional information from the voice recorder.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee, said it could take three to five days to dry and clean the device before downloading its data. "To analyze it, we need more time, depending on the complexity of the problem. Data obtained from CVR is expected to complete our investigation data," he added.
Deputy Maritime Minister Ridwan Djamaluddin said that the remains of 189 of the 198 people killed were also found at the seabed location. The family of one of the pilots is suing Boeing Co. in Chicago, claiming that aircraft sensors delivered incorrect information, which caused the plane to nosedive. The lawsuit also alleges that Boeing failed to train pilots on the 737 MAX 8's features. In December, Lion Air CEO Edward Sirait announced that the airline was contemplating canceling its remaining orders for 200 planes with Boeing.
The Lion Air crash was the deadliest airline tragedy in Indonesia since 1997 when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore also crashed into the sea, killing all 162 people on board. Lion Air, one of Indonesia's newest airlines, flies to dozens of domestic and international destinations.