Indonesian 737-500 Recorders Found (Updated)


Searchers have found the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from a second generation Boeing 737 that went missing Saturday off the coast of Indonesia. Divers are expected to recover the devices on Monday.

UPDATE: The 737’s flight data recorder has been recovered and given to accident investigators. A search for the cockpit voice recorder continues. In addition, recovery crews have found parts of the 737’s engines, including a damaged turbine disc. “The damaged fan blade indicates that the machine was still functioning when it crashed. This [is] also in line with the belief that the plane’s system was still functioning when it reached 250ft [the impact elevation],” said an Indonesian aviation authority.

Image: BBC

The Sriwijaya Air 737-500 disappeared from radar four minutes after taking off from Jakarta on the 90-minute flight to the Indonesian island of Borneo at about 2:40 p.m. local time. The last contact with the aircraft was a request to climb to 29,000 feet. A dozen vessels, including four warships, were concentrating their search in the waters between Lancang and Laki Island.

Authorities said fishers found metal debris in the area shortly after the aircraft went missing. The last major crash in Indonesia two years ago was the first of two catastrophic Boeing 737 MAX accidents that resulted in the 22-month grounding of the type and resulted in a $2.5 billion fine against Boeing for misleading authorities during the certification process. The aircraft involved in this incident was 27 years old.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. “Indonesian 737-500 Missing“ Really? It’s missing? They can’t find it? They don’t know where it is? “They” can’t be very smart. Maybe they should look harder. “They” sure are pulling up a lot of other stuff though. I wonder where that stuff came from? Another missing airplane?

  2. According to AP this morning Indonesian officials say the wreckage site, CVR and FDR were located on Sunday Indonesian time.

  3. I follow the Indonesian airline industry pretty closely.

    It should be interesting to see what the cause of this accident is – based on what I’ve seen so far, there’s no clear explanation.

    Indonesians try hard to operate in a professional manner (investigators receive NTSB training,) but often they’re short on parts, so cannibalize from other planes, and doing short hops with old planes causes structural fatigue (most major cities are within a 30 to 60 minute to range of Jakarta.) Operating in a tropical climate near 100% humidity doesn’t help.

    At this time there’s also the additional possible issues of un-mothballing, and unrest after the recent release of a cleric.

    The reaction of one Indonesian I talked to after this accident was, “Sering.”, translated as, “There’s often airline accidents here. Sigh.”