Indonesian navy divers have recovered one of two black boxes belonging to the Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board.
The data recorder that was retrieved from the seafloor would have tracked electronic information about the doomed Boeing 737.
It’s expected to reveal the plane’s airspeed, altitude and vertical acceleration.
These critical details should help investigators determine why it nosedived into the ocean shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Saturday.
Head of the National Transport Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono said authorities need between two to five days to be able to read the vital data stored on the recovered black box.
“We are expecting that through this investigation we can unfold the mystery of this accident,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cockpit voice recorder, which is the second black box that is yet to be found, holds conversations between pilots.
A device known as an underwater acoustic beacon is fitted to each of the black boxes to send out a series of pings to help searchers find them when they are lost.
Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said in this case, the acoustic beacons have been detached from both of the black boxes, making the search for them all the more difficult.
But Mr Tjahjanto remained optimistic that navy divers would soon be able to locate the cockpit voice recorder.
It appears to be buried in the seabed under tons of sharp objects in the wreckage.
TV stations on Tuesday showed divers on an inflatable vessel with a large white container containing the first black box.
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It was handed over to the National Transportation Safety Committee, which is overseeing the crash investigation.
Global flight tracking service Flightradar24 revealed that four minutes into the flight, the plane dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute before disappearing from radar.