Sriwijaya Indonesia Flight SJ182 Crash: Rescue Team Located the Black Box, What Does It Do?

Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) revealed that the black boxes from the ill-fated Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 had been detected within 150 to 200 meters of the crash site, as the search and rescue team is racing against the time. 

"We have two spots that highly suspected as a location of two black boxes. But unfortunately there is a lot of debris around that spots," Indonesia Navy Commander Admiral Yudo Margono said, as noted from CNN.

As of this writing, the diving team works to clear out the debris and hopes to recover the devices on Monday. AFP notes that over 2,600 personnel have been involved in the search and rescue operation, along with boats, helicopters, and more than 50 ships and 13 aircraft. Officials believe that there is no hope of finding any survivor from the ongoing investigation.

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Ill-Fated Flight

Sriwijaya Air's 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 flight number SJ182 left Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on January 9 but lost contact after taking off.

Four minutes into the flight amidst heavy rains, the Boeing 737 dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute before disappearing totally from the radar. 

En route to Pontianak in West Kalimantan, the plane disappeared from radar screens after 2.30 PM and crashed 20 kilometers from the airport near Laki Island, as noted by Reuters. The usual flight time to Borneo is 90 minutes.

Indonesian authorities said that there are over 62 people on board, including 12 crew. According to officials, dozens of bags, including remains of victims' body parts, belonging, pieces of clothing, and aircraft debris, have been located so far. 

The 26-year-old aircraft is older than its bigger sibling, the 737-MAX model, which crashed off Jakarta in 2018 and killed all the 189 people abroad the Lion Air Flight 610, after a system overhaul.

How Does the Black Box Work?

Black boxes are the most crucial part of an aircraft to investigate catastrophic events, as they store data of the flight and cockpit voice recorder. Essentially, black boxes are heavily protected recording device that records all relevant flight data, computer announcement, radio traffic, and conversations in the cockpit. Before taking off, each aircraft must have two of the device onboard. 

Before being put on board, a black box must be tested with a concrete wall at 750 kilometers per hour for at least five minutes at a maximum temperature of 1,100 degrees Celcius for one hour and water pressure in depths up to 6,000 meters. After the crash, black boxes automatically send out a signal that can be picked up within two kilometers. 

"We will do our best to find and save the victims, and together, let's pray that they can be found," President Joko Widodo said, according to Reuters. "In the name of the government and Indonesian people we would like to express our condolences on what has happened."

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