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Divers recover crashed plane’s flight data recorder

Chief of National Transportation Safety Committee Soerjanto Tjahjono, left, and Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency, Bagus Puruhito, right, hold the box containing the flight data recorder of Sriwijaya Air flight SJ-182 retrieved from the Java Sea where the passenger jet crashed as, rear from left, Armed Forces Chief Mair Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, and Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Yudho Margono look on, during a press conference at Tanjung Priok Port, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Indonesian navy divers searching the ocean floor on Tuesday recovered the flight data recorder from a Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian navy divers searching the ocean floor on Tuesday recovered the flight data recorder from a Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the Java Sea with 62 people on board.

The device is expected to help investigators determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 to nosedive into the ocean in heavy rain shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday. TV stations showed divers on an inflatable raft with a large white container containing the device heading to a Jakarta port.

Military chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said the plane’s other “black box,” the cockpit voice recorder, was likely to be found soon because its beacon was being emitted in the same area.

The devices were buried in seabed mud under tons of sharp objects in the plane’s wreckage, navy Chief Adm. Yudo Margono said. He said at least 160 divers were deployed Tuesday in the search.

More than 3,600 rescue personnel, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats are searching the area just north of Jakarta where Flight 182 crashed and have found parts of the plane and human remains in the water at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet).

So far, the searchers have sent 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts who on Monday said they had identified their first victim, 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma.

His wife, Aldha Refa, who is also a flight attendant for Sriwijaya Air, shared her grief in a series of posts on social media.

“My husband is a loving, devout and super kind man,” she wrote on Instagram. “Heaven is your place, dear … be peaceful there.”

Anguished family members have been providing samples for DNA tests, and the National Police disaster victim identification unit said it has identified three more victims, including the co-pilot.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will join in investigating the crash.

The NTSC chairman, Soerjanto Tjahjono, ruled out a possible midair breakup after seeing the condition of the wreckage found by searchers. He said the jet was intact until it struck the water, concentrating the debris field, rather than spreading it out over a large area as would be seen with a midair event.

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