AirAsia crash latest news: Black boxes found?

by Staff |

(REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)A search and rescue worker prepares to load body bags onto a flight to Kalimantan in Pangkal Pinang, Bangka Dec. 30, 2014. Indonesian rescuers saw bodies and luggage off the coast of Borneo island on Tuesday and officials said they were "95 percent sure" debris spotted in the sea was from a missing AirAsia plane with 162 people on board. Indonesia AirAsia's Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday during bad weather on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

SURABAYA, Indonesia (Christian Examiner) -- The AirAsia flight QZ 8501 black boxes may have been located inside the plane's tail, according to the latest reports. The two recorders from the downed aircraft contain cockpit converations and other flight data, which would help officials establish why the plane went down.

"We found what has a high probability of being the tail of the plane," Yayan Sofyan, the captain of the patrol vessel that made the discovery, told reporters at a news conference. In addition to the tail portion, the naval ship also found other debris, which was then turned over to search teams.

Although Safyan is confident that his ship has located tail of Airbus A320-200, Bambang Soelistyo, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, isn't so sure.

"I am not saying it's the tail yet. ... That is suspected. Now we are trying to confirm it," he told reporters. Weather conditions like strong winds, fog and rain have delayed search teams from retrieving underwater parts of the plane.

"The diving team, including the Russian divers, still cannot dive. Only two divers managed to dive, but since the underwater current is so strong, they are all now on standby," Soelistyo explained.

The flight's approval status to travel from Surabaya to Singapore has also been called into question. While the AirBus A320 was approved to fly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays but was allowed to take off on Sunday, Dec. 28, Indonesian officials revealed.

During the flight, the pilots requested permission to fly at higher altitudes to avoid the storm, but the request was denied because other airplanes were in the area.

The search has gone on so far for nine days, with 20 planes and helicopters assisting 20 ships to find bodies and wreckage about 160 kilometers off the coast of Borneo, Reuters reported. 162 passengers were aboard when AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 crashed into the Java Sea, and so far 37 bodies have been recovered and 13 of them have been identified.