AirAsia plane crash: Divers battle strong current to locate black box

Jakarta/Singapore, Jan 8: Indonesian military divers on Thursday battled strong waves to reach the submerged tail section of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the murky depths of the Java Sea in the hopes of finding crucial black box.

Searchers yesterday found the tail section of the plane where the flight data and voice recorders are located. Divers were sent to the location and plunged into the waves. Down on the sea floor, they were able to take pictures of the wreckage.


One image appears to show an upside down "A" painted on a piece of metal. At least six ships with equipment that can detect underwater objects are working in the area where the tail of was spotted.

Smaller pieces of the plane, such as seats and an emergency door, had previously been collected from the surface. Powerful currents and murky water continue to hinder the operation. Suryadi B Surpiyadi, a search and rescue operation coordinator from an air force base close to the search area, said, "Expert teams from Indonesia and France are now looking for a technique on how to find and lift the black boxes from the plane's tail."

Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Moeldoko is heading to Pangkalan Bun, the centre of the search and rescue operation, to supervise the risky salvage of the crashed AirAsia jet.

The flight, an Airbus 320-200 plane plunged into the water off Borneo island about 40 minutes into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya en route to Singapore on December 28.

Search authorities yesterday confirmed that a signal was detected in the tail, but divers could not re-detect that signal. No survivors have been found while 40 bodies have been recovered so far but officials believe most of the remaining bodies could still be trapped inside the plane's fuselage.

So far, 24 people have been identified while 16 still being identified. The tail section was found 30 kms from the plane's last known location 10 days ago.

The black box is considered the key piece of evidence when it comes to investigating a commercial plane disaster as they provide valuable information, from a plane's air speed to the position of the landing gear, to pilot communications.


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