Indonesian divers retrieve cockpit voice recorder of crashed Sriwijaya Air jet 3 months later

Indonesia recovered the cockpit voice recorder of Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off on January 9, killing all 62 people on board.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that the recorder was found late on Tuesday.

Divers found the casing and beacon of the voice recorder from the 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 within days of the crash but had spent nearly three months searching for the memory unit in relatively shallow but muddy waters that sometimes attract strong currents.

It took a similar amount of time to recover the voice recorder of the Lion Air 737 MAX that crashed in nearby waters in 2018.

A preliminary report by investigators into the Sriwijaya crash said the plane had an imbalance in engine thrust that eventually led the plane into a sharp roll and then a final dive into the sea.

That report included information from the plane’s other “black box”, the flight data recorder, which was recovered soon after the crash.

The voice recorder could help investigators understand the actions taken by the pilots.

The mid-market airline, which has few international flights, was thrust into the global spotlight following the plane crash in January.

Starting with just one aircraft in 2003, Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air has become Indonesia’s third-largest airline group, aided by its strategy of acquiring old planes at cheap prices and serving routes neglected by competitors.

Older jets can be operated just as safely as newer ones if maintained properly, although the cost of doing so is higher. The planes are also less fuel-efficient which means their operating costs are higher.