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Investigators Successfully Downloaded CVR from Crashed Sriwijaya Air Jet

A Sriwijaya Air 737-800 (Photo: Eka viation (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Two weeks after retrieving the cockpit voice recorder of a crashed Sriwijaya Air jet, an official at Indonesia’s air accident investigator said on Monday, Apr 12 that the data has been downloaded successfully, including the crucial last minutes of the flight that crashed with no survivors.

The second black box was recovered on Wednesday, Mar 31, which was welcomed as a breakthrough two months after the crash, seeing as investigators already had the first black box in their possession.

However, the data of the recording from flight SJ 182 cannot be disclosed to the public at this stage of the investigation, Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said.

“(The data is) good,” he told Reuters, “we have downloaded it.”

Progress With The Investigation

On Jan 9, the nearly 27-year old Boeing 737-500 was bound for Pontianak in West Kalimantan after a delayed take-off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International airport due to heavy rain. It disappeared from radar screens of air traffic controllers just minutes after takeoff, with authorities later declaring that the aircraft had crashed into the Java Sea, with all 62 people onboard, including 12 crew, presumed dead.

Air traffic control mentioned they had asked the pilot why it was heading northwest instead of on its expected flight path just before the aircraft disappeared, but they never received a response.

The first black box, the flight data recorder, was found three days after the crash and would help investigators in providing the airspeed and altitude. Although the cockpit voice recorder was not far from where the flight data recorder was, it was not an easy retrieval.

“Finding them was not easy because the diver had to dive to the bottom of the sea,” said Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

The initial report by KNKT released in February suggests that the aircraft had a malfunction resulting in an imbalance in the engine thrust as both auto-throttles of the aircraft showed anomalies, which eventually led the aircraft into a sharp roll before a final dive into the sea.

The downloaded data from the cockpit voice recorder contains four channels of audio which includes recordings of the captain and the first officer, Nurcahyo mentioned.

“Each (channel) has the last two hours, including the record of the flight that crashed,” he said.

The four channels would need to be synchronized with each other, as well as with the radio communications and the flight data recorder for analysis, in hopes that the cause of the crash can finally be determined.

Safety experts say that most air accidents are caused by a combination of factors that can take months to establish. Under international standards, the final report is due within a year of the crash.

Charlotte Seet


  • Charlotte Seet

    Fascinated by aircraft from a very young age, Charlotte’s dream was to work alongside the big birds one day. Pursuing her dream, she went on to achieve her diploma in Aviation Management and is currently working on her degree in Aviation Business in Administration with a minor in Air Traffic Management. When she’s not busy with school assignments, you can find her aircraft spotting for long hours at the airport. In Charlotte’s heart, the Queen of the Skies will always be her favorite aircraft.

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