Jakarta/Singapore, Jan 8: Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Moeldoko said today he is heading to Pangkalan Bun, the centre of the search and rescue operation, to supervise the risky salvage of the crashed AirAsia jet.
"Today I'm going again to Pangkalan Bun to supervise the salvage of AirAsia8501 and to support my troops who are going through risks," Moeldoko tweeted this morning. The tail of the ill-fated plane that went down with 162 people on board was found yesterday in the Java Sea even as a signal was detected by divers, raising hopes of a breakthrough in recovering the plane's crucial black box to determine the cause of the mysterious crash.
Pangkalan Bun, a city in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, is the centre of the search and rescue operation to salvage the wreckage, debris and bodies of AirAsia flight QZ8501. Search authorities confirmed that a signal was detected in the tail, but divers could not re-detect that signal, Singapore's Channel News Asia reported yesterday.
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. 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.
Last night, Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Indroyono Susilo said the tail of the plane was found and the black box could be found soon. The tail section was found 30 kms from the plane's last known location 10 days ago. The tail is where the black box is located. The black box contains the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. 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.