Indonesia to Send Crashed Plane's Black Box to France for Tests

  • Preliminary investigation fails to find cause of accident
  • Trigana Air crash in Papua killed all 54 people on board

The black box from an Indonesian turboprop plane that crashed in August, killing all 54 people on board, will be sent to France for analysis after a preliminary investigation failed to retrieve the data inside.

Attempts to download the flight data recorder from the PT Trigana Air Service flight were unsuccessful, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said in a report released Wednesday. The flight data recorder will be sent to a Paris facility “for further examination,” it said. The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder are collectively called the black box.

The preliminary report shed little light on the cause of the crash and instead recommended that Trigana Air make sure crew members “comply with the company procedures such as crew briefing, checklist reading, approach procedure and visual flight rules,” and keep maintenance records fully up to date.

Trigana Air Flight 267 lost contact with air traffic controllers Aug. 16 and crashed while on a domestic flight to Oksibil from Sentani airport in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. The remains of the plane were found two days later in the mountainous region. A call to Trigana Air seeking comment on the report wasn’t returned.

The Trigana Air crash was among several recent setbacks for Indonesia’s aviation sector, which has struggled with accidents and poor oversight. More than 350 people have died in three plane crashes in Indonesia since late December, including one last week in South Sulawesi province that killed 10 people. 

The doomed trip was the fifth flight of the day for the Trigana Air crew, and the second on that particular route, according to the report. Visibility was four to five kilometers (2.5-3 miles) on a day with some clouds overhead, the report said. 

The cockpit voice recorder has two hours of audio but doesn’t give any warning of impending impact, crew briefing or checklist reading, the report says. The voice recorder indicates the pilot had deployed the plane’s landing gear ahead of his approach to the airport, according to the report.

The turboprop plane was made by France’s Avions de Transport Regional.

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