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Doomed Lion Air jet’s cockpit voice recorder found

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JAKARTA: The "black box" cockpit voice recorder from an Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October last year has been recovered, officials said yesterday, a discovery that could be critical to explaining why a brand new plane fell out of the sky just after take-off.

The Boeing 737 MAX vanished from radar 13 minutes after departing Jakarta, slamming into the Java Sea after pilots asked to return to the capital. All 189 people on board died.

The orange voice recorder was discovered early yesterday about 10m from a flight data recorder that was pinpointed back in November, the authorities said.

"But it is broken into two pieces so hopefully it is still useful" to investigators, said Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee deputy head Haryo Satmiko.

More human remains were also found near the voice recorder, he added.

Said Jakarta-based aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo: "This will really help the investigation process... and could give some more answers on the cause".

The plane's previously found flight data recorder - the other "black box" - supplied information about the speed, altitude and direction of the plane before it plunged into the sea on Oct 29.

A preliminary crash report suggested that the pilots of Flight 610 struggled to control the plane's anti-stalling system before the accident.

The report also said that the Lion Air jet should have been grounded over a recurrent technical problem before its fatal journey, as it criticised the budget carrier's poor safety culture.

But it did not pinpoint a definitive cause of the crash and a final report is not likely to come until later this year. - AFP