AirAsia crash: Black boxes found, official says plane 'experienced explosion'

by Staff |

(REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni)An Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-200 passenger prepares to land at Sukarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang on the outskirts of Jakarta Jan. 30, 2013. FILE PHOTO

PANAKALAN BUN, Indonesia (Christian Examiner) -- The black boxes of AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 have been found, and one of them has been recovered, according to reports. After reviewing debris patterns and the data on the voice recorder, search team officials discovered a change in pressure in the jet, which may indicate the doomed plane "experienced [an] explosion before hitting [the] water," an official said.

"At 7:11, we succeeded in lifting the part of the black box known as the flight data recorder," Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters at a news conference.

The black box was found underneath the wing of AirBus A320, about 65 feet from the data recorder. Although divers were able to recover the voice recorder, the data recorder has been lodged underneath debris in the Java Sea.

"(The cockpit voice recorder) seems to be under a wing, which is quite heavy," said Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the search and rescue agency. "So we will use air bags to lift it. This will be done tomorrow."

Teams will attempt to lift the wreckage using large balloons. That's the same technique used to lift the tail section recovered last week. The information could be accessed in as little as two days if the devices are not badly damaged.

Supriyadi believes that the plane exploded before hitting the water. That account is supported by indications that part of the plane disintegrated as well as accounts from nearby fisherman. However, some do not believe an explosion occurred.

"There is no data to support that kind of theory," said Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee.

Investigators may need a month or more to get a more complete reading of the data.

AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 crashed on Dec. 28. So far 48 bodies have been found.

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Reuters contributed to this report.