Indonesia finds crashed Sukhoi's second black box

Indonesian searchers have found the second "black box" of a new Russian passenger jet three weeks after it crashed into a mountain, killing all 45 people on board, an official said Thursday.

"We found the flight data recorder (FDR) on Wednesday. It seems to be intact," search operation chief Ketut Purwa told AFP. The other black box, the cockpit data recorder, was found around a week after the May 9 crash.

"We finally found the FDR in a ravine around 30 metres below where we found the tail of the aircraft," Purwa said.

The box, which records instructions sent by electronic aircraft systems, was handed to Indonesian air safety investigators.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 slammed into the 7,200-foot (2,200-metre) Mount Salak in western Java during what was supposed to be a 40-minute exhibition flight to showcase the new plane to prospective buyers.

The twin-engine jet is Russia's first post-Soviet civilian aircraft and was to be the new mascot for the nation's aviation industry. It made its first commercial flight last year.

A search team that retrieved body parts strewn over the mountains and in the same ravine had struggled since the crash to locate the data recorder.

"The FDR emits a signal for up to a month but only if it's underwater. It doesn't work on land," Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi told reporters.

"It will take time to analyse the data," Kurniadi said without giving a schedule.

He said an Indonesian translation of the Russian transcript from the cockpit data recorder was being finalised.

Questions are swirling about why the plane descended to a dangerously low altitude in mountainous terrain and then crashed into Salak, a dormant volcano, with an experienced pilot at the controls.

Russian investigators have opened a criminal probe into possible misconduct during preparations for the flight. A separate investigation is being held in Indonesia.

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