Divers searching for the wreckage of Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 can no longer hear a signal from the aircraft’s missing cockpit voice recorder, the head of Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency said Sunday.
Diving teams have been working to locate the device, commonly known as a black box, which could help investigators piece together the final moments of the brand-new Boeing 737 before it crashed, killing all 189 people on board.
Muhammad Syaugi, head of Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency, Basarnas, told reporters in Jakarta Sunday that a “ping” from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was heard Saturday but “we don’t hear the ping signal today.”
“We checked that spot, located around 50 meters from the location of finding the first black box. But we can’t find the CVR yet,” Muhammad Syaugi said.
Meanwhile, the plane’s other black box, the flight data recorder, was located Thursday, and investigators said it showed Flight 610 had performed 19 flights – including its final flight.
Six black box experts from four different countries are now analyzing the flight data recorder to piece together the last moments of the 737 before it crashed.
Syaugi said that the search operation had been extended and would continue through Wednesday.
The focus of continuing efforts will be to recover additional victim remains and to locate the CVR, he said.
Analysts say finding the cockpit voice recorder is imperative if investigators are to determine whether the crash has implications for other airlines collectively operating thousands of Boeing 737 flights around the world each day.
Search for victims continues
Flight 610 was supposed to take its passengers on a one-hour journey from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka. Instead it crashed 13 minutes after takeoff. The pilots had asked to turn around but didn’t transmit an emergency call.
At least 65 body bags have been gathered since the start of the search-and-rescue operation, though each bag could contain remains of more than one person.
Investigators will have to rely on DNA samples to identify victims because of the condition and size of the remains found. Police have 181 DNA samples from victims’ families and are working to match them to 272 human tissue samples.
Lisda Cancer, head of Disaster Victim Identification, told reporters Friday that just one person has been identified so far, a female, through a fingerprint.
On Wednesday, authorities started bringing relatives to the port to identify victims’ personal belongings, whi