Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi, centre, holds the flight data recorder from the crashed Lion Air jet in Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, yesterday. AP
Indonesian divers yesterday found part of the black box from a Lion Air aircraft that crashed into the Java Sea earlier this week with 189 people on board, officials said.

“It is part of the black box because there is a part missing,” search chief Muhammad Syaugi told reporters. “We don’t know if it’s the voice cockpit recorder or the flight data recorder.”

One device records conversations in the cockpit, the other tracks flight data such as airspeed, pressure altitude and vertical acceleration. Data from the recorders could shed light on the cause of the crash.

Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the National Transportation Safety Committee would analyse data from the black box and investigation would be “professional and impartial”.

A naval diver who retrieved the device from a depth of 30 metres on the seabed said it was still intact.

Syaugi said navy divers found an object 1.5m long, believed to be a piece of the aircraft.

Military commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said late on Wednesday that he believed the aircraft’s fuselage was “not far from the area” where ping signals from the black box were detected.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the sea about 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, killing all 181 passengers and eight crew members.

Syaugi said the finding of items, including clothes and in-flight magazines, on the seabed indicated that the fuselage was nearby and that many bodies might still be trapped there.

He said the fuselage would be lifted using a crane once it was found.

Syaugi said 57 bags of human remains had been collected so far, however only one victim has been identified so far, according to police.

The aircraft was bound for Pangkal Pinang in the Bangka-Belitung Islands when it crashed. dpa