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Indonesia plane crash: intense search on for black box

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Jakarta: Following the crash of the Indonesian Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 plane, Indonesia on Monday intensified the search for the black boxes of the aircraft. t

The plane had nosedived into the Java sea minutes after it took off from capital Jakarta with 62 people on board.

The Boeing 737-500 jet disappeared, during heavy rain on Saturday, and though some plane parts and human remains have been recovered, there are not sign of survivors. the search so far has yielded plane parts and human remains but no sign of survivors.

Authorities have said signals from the boxes containing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were detected between Lancang and Laki islands in the Thousand Island chain just north of Jakarta's coast. Officials said they have marked a location where the sounds were being emitted from the black boxes, which detached from the tail of the aircraft when it plummeted into the sea.

The cockpit voice recorder holds conversations between pilots, and the data recorder tracks electronic information such as airspeed, altitude and vertical acceleration. When found, they will be transported to port and handed to the National Transportation Safety Committee overseeing the crash investigation.

More than a dozen helicopters, 53 navy ships and 20 boats, and 2,600 rescue personnel have been searching since Sunday and have found parts of the plane in the water at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet), leading rescuers to continue searching the area.

Television footages showed landing gear, wheels and a jet engine among the parts found, while other rescuers brought a dozen body bags containing human remains to a police hospital in eastern Jakarta for the identification process.

The National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bagus Puruhito said divers using high-tech "ping locator" equipment were looking for an identified target beneath 20 meters (65 feet) of seabed mud.

The transport committee's chairman, Soerjanto Tjahjono, said the black boxes could provide valuable information to investigators. Once the device is found and taken to the investigators' facility, it will take three to five days to dry and clean the device and to download its data, Tjahjono said.

He said it need more time to analyze it, "depending on the complexity of the problem." Tjahjono ruled out a possible midair breakup after seeing the condition of the wreckage found by searchers.

He said the jet was intact when it plunged and it broke into pieces upon the impact with the water. The debris was concentrated in one area, while a midair explosion would have caused debris to be spread over a large area, he said.

"It was broken apart naturally upon impact with water... there is no indication of unnatural destruction or explosion so far," Tjahjono told The Associated Press. "However, this still has to be confirmed by reading the black boxes." The committee's investigator Nurcahyo Utomo, said they have collected recordings and transcripts of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic controllers as part of their investigation into the cause of the crash.

Investigators are investigating all parts of the plane found by searchers from the seafloor such as the Ground Proximity Warning System, a device that could warn the pilot if the plane is too close to the ground, a radio altimeter and several other parts mostly from the lower side of the aircraft's tail, Utomo said.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure and poorly enforced safety standards.

Srivijaya Air has had only minor incidents in the past, though a farmer was killed in 2008 when a plane went off the runway while landing due to a hydraulic issue.

(Based on PTI with minor edits)

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TAGS:Plane crash Indonesia Sriwijaya Air black box search 
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