Cockpit voice recorder from crashed Sriwijaya Air plane found

The SJ-182 cockpit voice recorded placed inside a transparent box during a press conference on March 31, 2021. Photo: Indonesian Transportation Ministry
The SJ-182 cockpit voice recorded placed inside a transparent box during a press conference on March 31, 2021. Photo: Indonesian Transportation Ministry

Indonesian officials say they have finally found the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182, nearly three months after its tragic crash.

The recovery of the elusive CVR was confirmed by the Transportation Ministry this morning.

“Praise God, we found [the CVR] at 8pm yesterday not far from where the FDR was located,” Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said during a press briefing today.

Rescuers previously found the plane’s flight data recorder (FDR) in the sea near the plane’s crash site on Jan. 12, but had struggled to locate the CVR. 

Budi said the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) had struggled to find the CVR as its divers had to wade through plane debris and mud on the seabed.

The FDR is able to reveal crucial flight data, such as the plane’s altitude, speed, and engine condition, while the CVR contains recorded conversations between the pilot and copilot. Together they make up what is commonly known as the black box, which is crucial in determining the cause of air disasters.

While the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), the sole authority in determining the cause of plane crashes in Indonesia, had issued a preliminary report on the SJ-182 crash partly on data provided by the FDR, it stressed that the CVR was at least equally crucial in getting the whole picture of the incident. 

That was the reason why search for the CVR never stopped even after more than two months since the crash, and even when the official search operation for remaining plane debris and victims ceased in late January.

KNKT’s preliminary report, released on Feb. 10, pointed to the plane’s auto throttle malfunction as one of the key potential contributors to the crash.

SJ-182 crashed into the sea just north of Jakarta minutes after take-off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport. The plane, which was bound for the West Kalimantan city of Pontianak, had 62 people on board. There were no survivors in the crash.

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