Indonesian Navy divers recovered a cockpit voice recorder from a missing Lion Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea in October, killing all 189 people on board, officials said Monday.
The device, one of two recorders on the jet, could offer insight into the final moments of the fatal flight as investigators search for clues about why the brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 went down.
It was discovered under 26 feet of mud on the seabed using a high-tech “ping locator,” Lt. Col. Agung Nugroho, spokesman for the Indonesian Navy’s western fleet, told the Associated Press.
Investigators now will work to retrieve data from the so-called black box hoping it will contain audio of the pilots’ conversations. The plane crashed in waters nearly 98 feet deep on Oct. 29, just after takeoff.
Officials are expected to offer more details at a press conference later today.
“This is good news, especially for us who lost our loved ones,” H. Irianto, who lost his son in the crash, told the Associated Press. “Even though we don’t yet know the contents of the CVR, this is some relief from our despair.”
Search and rescue officials said they lost contact with Lion Air flight JT610 minutes after it left Jakarta, the country’s capital. The cockpit data recorder, recovered days three days after, showed that its airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on previous flights.
The 189 on board included three children and the crew, officials said.
Lion Air is one of Indonesia’s largest airlines.
In 2013, one of its Boeing 737-800 jets missed the runway while landing in Bali, crashing into the sea, but all 108 people on board survived.
Indonesian airlines in 2007 were barred from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. That ban was lifted in June, as the U.S. lifted a decade-long ban in 2016.