1134 GMT January 18, 2021
The device is expected to help investigators determine what caused the Boeing 737-500 plane to nosedive into the ocean in heavy rain shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.
TV stations showed divers on an inflatable vessel 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.
Anguished family members have been providing samples for DNA tests and police say results are expected in four to eight days.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said the US 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.
The disaster has reignited concerns about safety in Indonesia’s aviation industry, which grew fast after the economy was opened following the fall of Suharto in the late 1990s. The United States had banned Indonesian carriers from operating in the country in 2007, lifting the action in 2016, citing improvements in compliance with international aviation standards. The European Union lifted a similar ban in 2018.