Indonesia finds Lion Air jet's cockpit voice recorder

Members of the National Transportation Safety Committee lift a box containing the flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet onboard a rescue ship anchored in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia. (Fauzy Chaniago, AP, File)
Members of the National Transportation Safety Committee lift a box containing the flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet onboard a rescue ship anchored in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia. (Fauzy Chaniago, AP, File)

Navy divers have located the cockpit voice recorder of a Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, Indonesian officials said on Monday, in a possible boost to the accident investigation.

Ridwan Djamaluddin, a deputy maritime minister, told reporters that remains of some of the 189 people who died in the crash were also discovered at the seabed location.

"We got confirmation this morning from the National Transportation Safety Committee's chairman," he said.

A spokesperson for the Indonesian navy's western fleet, Lieutenant Colonel Agung Nugroho, said divers using high-tech equipment found the voice recorder beneath 8m of seabed mud. The plane crashed in waters 30m deep.

The 2-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29, killing everyone on board.

The cockpit data recorder was recovered within days of the crash and showed that the jet's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights.

If the voice recorder is undamaged, it could provide valuable additional information to investigators.The Lion Air crash was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan.

In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.

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