One of the black boxes from the Lion Air flight that crashed off Indonesia has been found.
Divers equipped with “pinger” locators have been searching for the piece of equipment, which could hold the key to finding out why the plane, which had been delivered in August, went down.
Local TV stations showed images of the black box – which refers to the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder – being transferred from an inflatable dinghy to a larger ship.
A diver said he found the device on the sea bed
A diver described pulling the device, which is actually orange in colour, intact from mud and debris on the ocean floor.
The spokesperson for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Yusuf Latif, has not confirmed the discovery of the black box.
But he said an “orange object” had been found.
Lion Air flight JT-610 disappeared just 13 minutes after it took off from Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, bound for an island a little more than an hour away.
All the 189 people on board the plane have been presumed dead, and 49 body bags containing human remains have so far been sent for identification.
Divers have been scouring the sea bed and have found belongings such as shoes, bags or shattered phones, pieces of plane and, among the debris, the grisly remains of those on board, mostly skin and hair.
The wreckage is testament to the intensity of the impact and the speed with which the plane hit the water.
Dozens of divers are among the 1,000 people taking part in a search of waters 30-40 metres (100-130ft) deep, with efforts also aided by helicopters and ships.
The cause of the crash has yet to be established, but questions have been raised after Lion Air admitted the plane had an unspecified technical issue on a previous flight.
The plane is said to have flow erratically the night before the crash, according to tracking website FlightRadar24.
Company boss Edward Sirait admitted there had been a technical problem but that it had been resolved “according to procedure”.
The Indonesian government has ordered the removal of Lion Air’s technical director and several other staff following the crash.