AKARTA, Indonesia – Divers have been finding bodies of passengers still strapped into their seats amid debris on the seafloor from the Lion Air jet that crashed Monday, an official of the Indonesian search and rescue team said Thursday. Isswarto, who goes by one name, told a news conference divers were recovering the remains.

He said divers also found many pieces of plane debris scattered about, most of them small. He said they haven’t found any large portions of the plane.

A Lion Air boeing 737-800 plane. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Divers recovered a flight recorder Thursday from the crashed airliner on the seafloor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the 2-month-old plane to plunge into the Java Sea earlier this week, killing all 189 people on board.

One TV station showed footage of two divers after they surfaced, swimming to an inflatable vessel and placing the bright orange device into a large container that was transferred to a search-and-rescue ship.

“I was desperate because the current below was strong but I am confident of the tools given to me,” said navy 1st Sgt. Hendra, who uses a single name, in a television interview. After narrowing the possible location, “I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object,” he said, standing on the deck of a ship next to his diving mate.

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