[Avionics Today 08-19-2015] Indonesian rescue workers have recovered the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the Trigana Air Service ATR 42-300 aircraft that crashed in the Papua province
. During a press conference on Tuesday, Indonesia’s Search and Rescue Agency Chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo originally said that both the CVR and the Flight Data Recorder had been recovered, but on Wednesday he said officials had misunderstood reports from rescuers at the scene of the crash, according to a report from The Associated Press (AP).
Trigana Air ATR 42-300. Photo: Trigana Air Service.
The aircraft lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar coverage on Sunday, Aug. 16 in the province of Papua, about 30 minutes after takeoff on a flight from the city of Jayapura to Oksibil. Indonesian Search and Rescue (SAR) agency Basarnas confirmed on Tuesday that all 54 passengers and flight crew members on the aircraft perished in the crash. Officials involved in the investigation have indicated that the flight crew did not issue any distress call prior to losing contact with ATC during the fatal flight.
"The plane was totally destroyed," said Tatang Kurniadi, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee, during a press conference on Tuesday.
"Everything was in pieces and part of the plane is burnt. We could see burn marks on some pieces," said Soelistyo.
The CVR has been transported to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta for analysis, according to Kurniadi. Analysis of both boxes should provide clues as to what caused the crash, which Indonesian officials believe was likely due to deteriorating weather conditions.
Stephen Carbone, a former safety inspector for the FAA and former aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and author of “Jet Blast” said the initial FDR and CVR analysis will take several days.
"You have to have those assigned to the accident to sit in on the recorder play, which they have to transcribe first, and put it on paper so you can follow along as the recorder is played," Carbone told Avionics Magazine.
While several theories have already been floated as to what might have caused the crash, everything is pure speculation until the analysis of the FDR and CVR is complete and further investigative action is taken, he said.
"At this point, the most important thing is to either eliminate or verify maintenance problems associated with that aircraft," said Carbone. "The maintenance investigator should be onsite at their maintenance base going through all the documented records ensuring that the engines were good, there were no overdue repairs on the fuselage and ensuring the complete airworthiness of the airframe and all of the onboard instruments. Either you eliminate that as a possibility or you verify if that is a possibility that it demands further investigation.
The Trigana Air Service ATR 42-300 crash is the third major Indonesian aviation incident since the December 2014. AirAsia flight QZ8501
carrying 155 passengers and crew crashed in the Karimata Strait in late December. In June, an Indonesian military plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in the city of Medan, killing 142 people.
Trigana Air Service also has a poor safety record. The airline is one of a large number of carriers that is banned from operating in European airspace by the civil aviation authorities of the member states of the European Union. Trigana Air Service has been banned from operating in Europe since 2007.