Navy divers have found one of the “black boxes” from an Indonesian airliner which crashed into the Java Sea on Saturday with 62 people on board.
The flight data recorder was recovered from the ocean floor, with at least 160 divers deployed in the search.
It will now be handed over to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), which is overseeing the investigation.
The other “black box” – the cockpit voice recorder – is likely to be found soon because it has been emitting signals in the same area, said Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.
The boxes were believed to be buried under sharp objects which needed to be removed first, about 75ft (23m) below the surface of the sea, Admiral Yudo Margono of the Indonesian navy said.
A remotely-operated vehicle was sent to the location between Lancang and Laki islands, just north of the capital, Jakarta.
They were using high-tech “ping locator” equipment to narrow their hunt for the boxes.
More than 3,600 rescue personnel, 13 helicopters, 54 large ships and 20 small boats have also joined the search for debris.
The Sriwijaya Air jet, which was heading to the island of Borneo, came down about four minutes after taking off from Jakarta in heavy rain.
According to tracking service Flightradar24, the 26-year-old plane lost more than 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude in less than a minute.
The airliner, which had been grounded between March and December because of the coronavirus pandemic, passed an airworthiness inspection on 14 December, Indonesia’s transport ministry said on Tuesday.
It resumed commercial flights eight days later.
Initial findings from the NTSC suggest a jet engine was running when the aircraft hit the water, based on the damage to a fan blade.
Going on the condition of the wreckage, NTSC chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono ruled out a possible mid-air break-up.
He said the jet was intact until it struck the water, resulting in a more concentrated spread of debris. A mid-air event would have led to debris being scattered more widely.
The first victim to be named is 29-year-old flight attendant Okky Bisma, who was identified using his fingerprints, police said.
“My super kind husband… Heaven is your place… Until we meet again darling,” his wife wrote on Instagram.
So far, searchers have sent 74 body bags containing human remains to police identification experts.
More human remains were found on Tuesday, as well as personal effects such as wallets containing identification cards.
Family members have been providing samples for DNA tests, and officers say results are expected within four to eight days.