Search for AirAsia plane black box hindered by weather

Search for AirAsia plane black box hindered by weather

Strong currents and blinding silt thwarted an attempt by divers to find AirAsia Flight 8501's black boxes, which they hope are still located in the recently discovered tail of the plane.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders, which are crucial to helping determine what caused the jet to go down with 162 people aboard on December 28, are located in the rear of the aircraft.

A day after an unmanned underwater vehicle spotted the plane's tail, lying upside down and partially buried in the sea floor, divers were unable to make it past choppy seas and one-metre (3ft) visibility, said National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo.

He said expert teams from Indonesia and France were looking at other options, including a crane to lift the tail.

Ping-emitting beacons in the black boxes still have about 20 days before their batteries go dead, but high waves had prevented the deployment of ping locators, which are dragged by ships.

A total of six ships with ping locators were in the search area in the Java Sea, said Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator from the National Commission for Transportation Safety.

He said that based on pictures taken by the divers, he believed that the black boxes were still attached to their original location.

"Once detected, we will try to find and lift up the black boxes as soon as possible," he said.

The tail wreckage, identified by the plane's registration number and part of the AirAsia logo, was located about nine kilometres (six miles) from where the Airbus A320 carrying 162 passengers and crew lost contact with the control tower on December 28. The plane was nearly halfway between the Indonesian city of Surabaya and Singapore.

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia's chief executive officer, said that the airline's priority was still to recover all the bodies "to ease the pain of our families".

Another body was retrieved from the sea today, bringing to 41 the number of victims recovered so far. Officials are hopeful many of the 121 bodies still unaccounted for will be found inside the fuselage, which is thought to be lying near the tail.

The carrier, meanwhile, said families of those killed would be compensated in accordance with Indonesian laws. Each will receive 1.25 billion rupiah (£65,000), Sunu Widyatmoko, president of AirAsia Indonesia, told reporters in Surabaya.

Bad weather is believed to be a contributing factor to the crash.

Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control he was approaching threatening clouds but was denied permission to climb to a higher altitude because of heavy air traffic. No distress signal was issued.

More on this topic

Faulty rudder control system to blame for AirAsia crash, say investigatorsFaulty rudder control system to blame for AirAsia crash, say investigators

Indonesia ends search for AirAsia plane crash victimsIndonesia ends search for AirAsia plane crash victims

Search for remaining Air Asia victims has endedSearch for remaining Air Asia victims has ended

More bodies found in Airasia searchMore bodies found in Airasia search

More in this Section

Corbyn says he will put ‘sensible’ Brexit deal to voters in new referendumCorbyn says he will put ‘sensible’ Brexit deal to voters in new referendum

New poll on independence published five years on from Scottish referendumNew poll on independence published five years on from Scottish referendum

Sacha Baron Cohen asks judge to dismiss Roy Moore lawsuitSacha Baron Cohen asks judge to dismiss Roy Moore lawsuit

Israel exit poll suggests Netanyahu has failed to win majorityIsrael exit poll suggests Netanyahu has failed to win majority


Lifestyle

Kya deLongchamps is looking forward to another winter coloured by the transformative power of paintYour paint primer for the season ahead

A new RTÉ series takes viewers behind the scenes at Ireland’s finest eateries – including Restaurant Chestnut, a Michelin award-winner within six months of opening. Vickie Maye meets the chef behind it, Rob KrawczykGoing beyond the menu: RTÉ series goes behind the scenes at some of Ireland's finest restaurants

Whether you’re into a ‘no make-up make-up’ look or jet black lipstick, LFW had it all.These are the biggest beauty looks from a vampy London Fashion Week

It will take you out of your beauty comfort zone, but is remarkably easy to pull off.London Fashion Week: This top make-up artist wants you to ditch your cat-eye for a ‘blue fade’

More From The Irish Examiner