Indonesia divers prepared to resume a search Thursday for the remains of 62 victims and the cockpit voice recorder from a Sriwijaya Air plane that plunged into the Java Sea soon after takeoff last weekend, officials said.
The search at the crash site of the downed Boeing 737-500 that was traveling from Jakarta to Pontianak, was temporarily suspended Wednesday after bad weather whipped up high waves.
"We hope that today's weather will be calm," said search and rescue director Rasman MS. "With good weather that can support our operations, they (the divers) hope to achieve optimum results in finding the victims and plane debris."
More than 150 divers were forced Wednesday to abandon their hunt for the cockpit voice recorder of Sriwijaya flight 182 as a result of bad weather.
The search-and-rescue divers set out Wednesday to find the plane's cockpit voice recorder but were ordered back by midday as swells as high as 8 feet high battered the searchers.
The cockpit voice recorder is a log of anything said by the pilots during the flight and may contain clues about the crash of a Boeing 737 jet four minutes after takeoff Saturday.
Underwater remote-controlled vehicles will take over until conditions improve, according to Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency.
"The weather is still not conducive, so operations that are focused on underwater haven't been carried out for the safety of the divers," Bambang Suryo Aji, a director at the agency, said Wednesday.
With 62 people on board, the plane crashed into the sea moments after departing Jakarta airport and wreckage continues to be found around the Thousand Island chain north of the capital.
More than 3,600 rescuers in dozens of helicopters, ships and other craft have been searching the area for days to recover parts and bodies. No survivors have been found.
Divers located the plane's flight-data recorder - or black box - Tuesday. It is in "relatively good shape," according to National Transportation Safety Committee chairperson Soerjanto Tjahjono.
The box - independent of the cockpit recorders - should shed light on the circumstances surrounding the incident and authorities plan to download the data within five days after the recorder has dried.
Flight 182 fell more than 10,000 feet within seconds after taking off during a rainstorm that delayed departure by nearly an hour.
America's National Transportation Safety Board said late Tuesday it would send a delegation of investigators to assist with the investigation alongside representatives of Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. - manufacturer of the plane's engines.
Manufacturer Boeing's aircraft have been involved in several recent crashes - including its 737 Max jet. The Max is a later version of the Sriwijaya plane.
The investigation will look into how a plane that had been declared airworthy by Indonesia's transport ministry less than a month ago could fall out of the sky without warning.
The 27-year old plane showed no signs of engine corrosion or mechanical problems before takeoff - making the flight's cockpit voice recorder an important piece of evidence.
The Boeing 737-500 resumed commercial flights last month after almost nine months out of service because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic.