Just as hopes to find the second black box of the crashed Boeing 737 MAX began to fade, a more than two-month-long struggle, including Lion Air’s own failed search, has come to an end. Indonesian investigators now say they have finally found the voice cockpit recorder (CVR) of the doomed flight JT610. Data retrieved from the device could help determine whether pilot error or specific issues with the MAX 8 contributed most to the October 2018 crash.
According to Haryo Satmiko, the deputy chief of the Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), which is leading the investigation into the crash, the second black box was found on the morning of 14 January 2019, ‘broken into two pieces’. Human remains have also been found near where the voice recorder was discovered, Naval Lieutenant Colonel Agung Nugroho told Reuters.
Flight JT610 was heading north to the town of Pingal Pinang on 29 October 2018, when it lost contact with the air traffic control (ATC) just 13 minutes after take-off from the capital Jakarta. Flight data retrieved from the first black box, the flight data recorder (FDR), which was found on 2 November 2018, reportedly indicated the aircraft made a sudden, sharp dive into the sea.
Although the first black box (also damaged) was found just three days after the crash, strong currents and waves as well as poor visibility due to the muddy seabed had hampered the search efforts for the second black box. Teams of divers, assisted by underwater drone and sonar technology, had been receiving ‘ping’ signals from the missing recorder intermittently ever since the 737 crashed in October. They had been scouring the waters of the presumed crash site that are about 30 meters (98 feet) deep.
Nugroho said a weak signal from the cockpit voice recorder was detected several days previously. Divers found the device buried eight meters (26 feet) deep in the muddy seabed. It was located at least 50 meters (165 feet) from where plane’s first black box was discovered.