On the fourth day of an intensive round-the-clock search, Indonesian officials on Thursday (Nov 1) brought one of the black boxes from Lion Air flight JT610 to shore in northern Jakarta, a key breakthrough in the mission to discover the reasons for the fatal crash that killed all 189 people on board.
He says, "There are some small objects that we found, but last night, thank God, we found a large enough object".
The location of the airplane's "black box" flight data recorder has been identified, he said, but strong currents prevented it from being recovered.
Special ships and remotely operated underwater vehicles had been deployed following Monday's crash to search for the plane's hull and flight recorders.
With media speculating on the airworthiness of the aircraft, the transport ministry suspended for 120 days Lion Air's maintenance and engineering director, fleet maintenance manager and the release engineer who gave the jet permission to fly on Monday.
However, he ordered the inspection of eight aircraft of the same model now being operated by Lion Air, and one operated by Garuda Indonesia.
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A massive search effort identified the possible seabed location of the crashed Lion Air jet, Indonesia's military chief said Wednesday, as experts carried out the grim task of identifying dozens of body parts recovered from a 15-nautical-mile-wide search area.
Indonesian Search and Rescue (SAR) members and police officers check belongings of Lion Air Flight JT 610 victims at Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) in Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia, on October 30, 2018.
Data from the doomed flight shows the plane was struggling with erratic speed and altitude levels during the brief time it was in the sky.
Although it is now nearly certain that everyone on the plane died, relatives are desperate to find traces of their loved ones, with only debris and body parts found so far.
Search teams have been retrieving body parts from the water.
Lion Air said the plane had a "technical problem" on the previous flight, which was "resolved according to the procedure".
In response to Monday's crash, the Australia's government has banned officials and contractors from flying on Lion Air pending results of the investigation. The country's airlines have previously been banned from operating in the United States and European Union.