Based on the latest findings by investigators, the deadly crash was likely caused by mechanical failure due primarily to the aircraft's limitation rather than terrorism.
Before the retrieval of the black box, some people speculated that the aircraft might have been intentionally brought down by terrorists on board.
However, based on the data currently on hand, thanks in large part to the recovery of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), investigators have found no evidence to suggest that there was a commotion or threats inside the cockpit.
The investigation team is composed of 10 investigators from the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) led by Andreas Hananto.
The aircraft, an A320-200 jetliner, departed in the early morning of December 28 last year from Surabaya's Juanda International Airport on its way to Singapore. Less than an hour into its flight, the pilot requested the air traffic controller (ATC) to allow him to climb to 38,000 feet to avoid big storm clouds at its current altitude.
However, the ATC could not readily grant its request citing heavy traffic at the requested altitude. The aircraft was cruising at an altitude of 32,000 feet at the time.
When the ATC was about to send back its permission to the pilot two minutes later, he could no longer establish a contact and the aircraft had already disappeared from the radar screen.
The plane was carrying a total of 162 people including 7 crew members, two of whom were the pilots.
The plane crashed into the Karimata Strait, a body of water that connects the South China Sea and Java Sea, between Belitung Island and West Kalimantan.
The tail of the plane was located and retrieved on January 7. On January 11, a big chunk of the fuselage was also recovered a few kilometers from the area where the tail was found. Both the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) have also been recovered on January 12. A large chunk of the fuselage with the wing still attached was also retrieved on January 14.
Current findings indicate that there were no other voices were heard inside the cockpit except that of the pilot who was audibly busy in the plane's operation.