The search for the Lion Air 737 that crashed last Monday killing 189 people has been extended after divers lost contact with the aircraft’s second black box.
The “ping” from the cockpit voice recorder was located Saturday but the signal was lost yesterday as the divers battled strong currents and murky water.
Searchers are also trying to collect as many personal effects as they can and so far have recovered 859 items.
At least 105 body bags containing body parts of the passengers have been handed to the disaster victim identification unit of the national police hospital in Jakarta.
Lion JT 610 crashed into the ocean of Tanjung Pakis of the Karawang district of West Java province in 30ms of water.
Officials from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are assisting the Indonesian authorities with the downloading and analysis of the flight data recorder recovered last week.
It is understood that the download process started yesterday and it is hoped that clues may emerge quickly as to what systems were not functioning on the near-new plane.
Authorities will be under pressure to release the data as the 737 is one of the world’s most widely used planes.
However, while that information will be extremely important, the cockpit voice recorder is critical to understanding the pilot’s reaction to the problems.
Safety experts are asking why the pilots did not just switch off the auto pilot and auto throttle and fly the plane on standby instruments.
But authorities will also question the pilots from the previous flight from Bali to Jakarta about the exact nature of the problems they encountered.
On that flight the aircraft had erratic speed and altitude changes for about 10 seconds before the 737 stabilised.
The pilots had requested a return to Denpasar Airport before cancelling that when the system returned to normal.