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Politics

Indonesia finds missing voice recorder from crashed Lion Air jet

JAKARTA (Kyodo) -- Indonesian authorities said Monday they have found the missing cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea off Jakarta in late October, killing all 189 people on board.

The discovery of the device, coupled with the aircraft's flight data recorder recovered from the sea days after the crash, could help investigators understand what happened to the flight before it plunged into the sea minutes after takeoff.

"The National Transportation Safety Committee just informed us that the cockpit voice recorder had been found," Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters.

Navy divers found the device buried in eight meters of mud at the bottom of the Java Sea on Monday morning, about 50 meters from where the flight recorder had been found in November, according to Lt. Col. Agung Nugroho, a navy spokesman.

Some human remains were found along with the device, Ridwan Jamaluddin, Luhut's deputy, said.

The Indonesian budget carrier's flight JT610, bound for Pangkalpinang, crashed into the sea 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta's international airport on the morning of Oct. 29. The brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 had been put into service only in August.

A preliminary investigative report released by the committee shows that shortly after takeoff, the plane's anti-stall mechanism was activated, apparently by incorrect sensor readings, forcing its nose down.

The mechanism automatically trims the angle of the horizontal stabilizers near the tail of the fuselage. It is triggered when there is an indication that the plane is losing lift.

While the new mechanism was introduced to the 737 MAX 8, pilots flying the same type of aircraft around the world had not been informed of the automated mechanism. Nor was the method of overriding the automatic trim described in the aircraft's manual.

A draft final report is expected within six months of the crash, and after its contents are vetted by agencies and companies the investigative committee is expected to issue a final report by the first anniversary of the crash.

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