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Indonesian navy divers say they have recovered one of the “black boxes” from the wreckage of Lion Air Flight JT-610, which crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta early Monday morning.
The divers told local television reporters Thursday they found one of the plane’s recorders from the sea floor and brought it to the surface.
Search crews have been working around the clock to find the wreckage of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner and recover the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, which contain crucial information on the plane’s brief flight, including the pilot’s last communications with ground controllers, when they asked to return to the airport.
Authorities said Wednesday they believed they had pinpointed the resting place of the Lion Air jetliner, which vanished from radar screens after taking off on a flight to nearby Bangka-Belitung island.
All 189 passengers and crew were killed in the crash.
The crash is the first one involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new fuel-efficient version of the legendary passenger jet. Representatives with the U.S.-based aviation company were flying to Indonesia Wednesday to meet with officials with budget airline Lion Air, which has ordered 50 of the new 737 MAX 8 planes at a cost of $6.2 billion. Lion Air chief Edward Sirait told reporters Monday that the aircraft, which had only been in service for two months, suffered a technical problem during a flight from the resort island of Bali to Jakarta the night before, but was resolved according to procedure.
Indonesia’s transport ministry has ordered an inspection of all the new 737 MAX 8 jets. It has also suspended Lion Air’s technical director and several technicians who cleared the plane to fly.
Monday’s crash is another black mark on Indonesia’s fast-growing aviation sector, which has acquired a reputation for poor safety oversight. The country’s airlines have previously been banned from operating in the United States and European Union.