Indonesian searchers recovered black box from crashed Lion Air jet, reports say

An Indonesian search team has recovered a black box from the Lion Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea on Monday, according to local media reports.

Broadcaster Kompas TV reported that the box was found Thursday morning in waters off Tanjung Karawang, West Java, by Indonesian divers from the National Search and Rescue Agency.

It was brought back to the surface and loaded onto a ship with its condition intact, according to a diver interviewed by Kompas TV. He did not specify whether the box was the flight data recorder, which collects information about the speed, direction and altitude of the plane, or the cockpit voice recorder.

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The recovery of the black box will be the first step toward discovering why the Lion Air jet, a brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8, plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. Its pilot had requested clearance to return to the airport just minutes minutes after takeoff, which aviation experts said indicated a technical problem.

The flight was bound for the city of Pangkal Pinang on Bangka – Indonesia’s ninth-largest island – when it lost contact.

Data from flight-tracking sites showed erratic speed, altitude and direction in the minutes after takeoff on the plane’s previous flight on Sunday.

Passengers on the Sunday flight from Bali to Jakarta recounted problems that included a long delay before takeoff for an engine check and the plane dropping suddenly several times in the first minutes of its flight.

The president of Lion Air, Edward Sirait, told reporters Monday that the plane had a technical issue on its previous flight but said it had been resolved according to the manufacturer’s procedures. He did not provide specific details on that incident.

A similar pattern was seen in data pinged from Monday’s fatal flight. Safety experts cautioned, however, that the data must be checked for accuracy against the plane’s black boxes.

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