Divers fail to locate AirAsia flight recorders

2015-01-08 14:28
Indonesian navy divers arrive near the navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh after taking part in an operation to raise the tail of the crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea. (Adek Berry, AFP)

Indonesian navy divers arrive near the navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh after taking part in an operation to raise the tail of the crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea. (Adek Berry, AFP)

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Jakarta - Indonesian Navy divers on Thursday failed to locate the flight recorders from the tail section of the AirAsia plane that crashed into the Java Sea in late December.

Search teams confirmed they had found the tail on Wednesday after divers took pictures of it 30m underwater.

The discovery raises hopes for investigators to recover the aircraft's cockpit voice and flight data recorders, known as the black boxes, which are located in the aircraft's tail section.

Three teams of divers were sent to the location to determine whether it was possible to lift it if the black boxes were still attached.

But poor visibility prevented divers from locating the black boxes, said Indonesian Navy search leader Vice Admiral Abdul Rasyid.

He told Metro TV that divers returned with small objects from the area, including a bottle of water with the AirAsia red and white logo, a box, a mask and a small piece of the aircraft.

"We were not able to locate the black boxes because visibility was almost zero," Marines diver Sergeant Major Boflen Sirait told the broadcaster.

Bambang Sulistyo, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said the black boxes, which record the chain of events leading up to an accident, required special handling and that the approval of crash investigators was needed before lifting the tail.

"If they allow it, we will use a crane to lift it," he said.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea with 162 people on board on 28 December.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but one of the pilots requested permission to climb to higher altitude to try to avoid bad weather minutes before the plane disappeared from the radar.

So far, only 40 bodies have been retrieved and no survivors have been found.

International search teams are also trying to find the plane's fuselage, which is thought to contain many of the victims' bodies.

Read more on:    airasia  |  indonesia  |  air crashes  |  airasia qz8501
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