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Divers hunt for AirAsia black box, struggle to penetrate jet’s tail

Thursday, Jan 8, 2015,21:18 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Jakarta/Singapore | Divers today braved high waves to reach the AirAsia plane’s tail for its black box to know why the jet mysteriously crashed in the Java Sea 11 days ago, but failed to penetrate the wreckage due to strong currents and poor visibility. Searchers spotted the tail section – where the black box is located – in the choppy waters 30 kms from the plane’s last known location yesterday, a day after divers joined the multi- national hunt.
Persistent bad weather with strong currents, huge waves and high winds delayed efforts to reach the fuselage believed to contain remaining victims besides the black box. The black box contains the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, crucial to determine the cause of the December 28 crash that claimed all 162 lives on board the ill- fated AirAsia Flight QZ8501, en route from Indonesia’s Surabaya city to Singapore. Another body was today retrieved, bringing the total number of bodies recovered so far to 41, and will be sent for identification in Surabaya.
At least two more bodies are drifting underwater but search teams are unable to recover them, Channel News Asia reported, citing the National Search and Rescue Agency Republic of Indonesia (BASARNAS). Dives around the Airbus 320-200′s tail section have been suspended due to strong currents and poor visibility of one metre.
There is a small possibility that dives will resume this evening, according to the BASARNAS. Earlier today, reports said Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Moeldoko will arrive in Pangkalan Bun, the centre of the search and rescue operation, to supervise the risky salvage of the crashed AirAsia jet. Search authorities yesterday confirmed that a signal was detected in the tail or the rear section of the plane. Efforts to salvage the tail section of the crashed AirAsia QZ8501 from the Java Sea has been suspended due to bad weather, Channel News Asia reported, citing the BASARNAS. The black box has not been found yet and may have been dislodged from the tail section, but it will be nearby, lead investigator Nurcahyo said.
He also said pings from the black box are not being detected as there is disruption in the area. But the search operation’s top priority will be recovering bodies, and then retrieving the black box, he said. Earlier reports in the day said the improving weather conditions had given searchers a better chance of retrieving the tail where the black box should be. If the black box has detached from the original position due to impact, I’m quite sure it will be not far from the wreckage, said Nurcahyo.