Jakarta. The National Transportation Safety Committee, or KNKT, has found late on Tuesday the cockpit voice recorder of the ill-fated Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, which crashed offshore of Jakarta's Thousands Island last January.
As the name suggests, CVR records all the conversation and ambient voices in the cockpit right now before the plane plunged into the sea, providing critical information to the investigators about what happened with the Boeing 737 airplane.
The CVR finding paves the way for the crash investigators to delve into the final moments of the Boeing 737 airplane and pinpoint the exact cause of the crash.
"This shows that the government is indeed serious about investigating [the accident]," KNKT Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said in a press conference on Wednesday.
The committee had to rely on data from flight data recorder (FDR) — that only records the airplane speed, altitude, and engine information — it was found in January for initial investigation on the crash. The preliminary result suggested that the aircraft may experience a different level of trust may lead to the pilot and co-pilot having difficulties controlling the airplane.
But, without the cockpit's voice records, investigators could not pinpoint how both pilots and co-pilot failed to regain control of the plane before it lost 10,000 feet in altitude in less than a minute and crashed into the sea.
"We will take this CVR to the lab, where we will process it for reading," Soerjanto said, adding that it may take between three days to a week to download the data in the CVR for further analysis.
"After that, we will make a transcript to be matched with the flight data recorder. Therefore, we can compare what happened in the cockpit with the data in the FDR," he said.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo paid special attention to the crash and ensured that KNKT would get the help it ned from the Indonesian Navy and other agencies to recover the cockpit recorder at all costs, well beyond the two-week search and rescue period.
Soerjanto said after divers from National Search and Rescue Team, and the Navy failed to find the CVR, the committee decided to enlist a trailing suction hopper dredger, a ship with mud suction capability that was often deployed to maintain waterways and ports.
The ship could suck up to a meter deep of mud in a 90x90 meters square area, where the recorder most likely to be located. But, the committee only has less than a week to use the ship. Tuesday was actually the last day the ship available for the search, Soerjanto said.
"Thank God that we found the recorder last night," he said.