Indonesian investigators have removed the flight data recorder from the Lion Air Boeing 737-800 that crashed into the sea while attempting to land at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar on the afternoon of 13 April.

The recorder will be sent to Jakarta and analysis is expected to start soon, Indonesia's director general of civil aviation Herry Bakti told Flightglobal Pro.

He adds that there have been difficulties in removing the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder as the jet is still partially submerged in water.

"They tried to take it from the tail of the aircraft but it's been difficult because of the waves. The aim is to remove it by today," says Herry.

Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee will be investigating the incident together with the US National Transport Safety Board, which has sent a team of investigators to assist the Indonesian aviation authorities.

The two-month old 737, with registration PK-LKS, was on a scheduled service from Bandung to Bali when the incident happened.

Authorities initially said the aircraft overshot the runway before hitting the sea, but Lion Air later clarified at a press conference that the aircraft had crashed about 50m (164ft) ahead of the runway.

Images of the incident show the aircraft's fuselage broken in two between the wings and the tail, and floating in shallow waters. All 101 passengers and seven crew survived, although some were injured and had to be sent to the hospital.

It is understood that the pilot, who has about 15,000h experience, took control of the aircraft when the less experienced co-pilot lost sight of the runway because of rain.

Local media reports say that at the time of the incident, the weather was cloudy with rain.

"The pilot was experienced but before landing there was a problem. It seems there was a weather change and the aircraft dropped," says Herry.

To speed up investigations, the aircraft will be moved to the beach nearby.

Lion Air, which started in 2000, is a fast-expanding carrier which has made the news with record aircraft orders in recent years. It placed an order for 234 Airbus A320 family aircraft in March, and also has 323 737s on order to facilitate its ambitious growth plans.

The Lion group is also due to start operations of Batik Air, a full-service carrier, on 3 May. This comes less than a month after it launched its Malaysia-based joint venture Malindo Air on 22 March.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news