AirAsia fuselage located, officials believe black boxes are nearby

by Staff |

(REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)Indonesian military pilots look at a flight plan before setting out for a search mission for AirAsia's Flight QZ8501 in Pangkal Pinang, Bangka island December 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.

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia (Christian Examiner) -- The fuselage of AirAsia Flight QZ 8501 has likely been located, which could mean that the elusive black boxes from the doomed plane are nearby, according to reports. Indonesian navy divers resolved to try again Monday to find more pieces of the plane while weather conditions were relatively calm in the Java Sea.

"(The divers) began diving very early in the morning to take advantage of the weather," Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, operations coordinator for the National Search and Rescue Agency, told Reuters in the town of Pangkalan Bun, the base for the search effort on Borneo.

The fuselage was thought to be in an area about three miles from where the tail of the plane was discovered after ships detected pings. Officials believe that the black boxes are somewhere close to the fuselage, which could also contain more of the 162 passengers lost in the crash.

"Divers will attempt to recover the black boxes by gradually shifting these layers of debris from the plane's body," Supriyadi said, "Hopefully, weather and sea currents are friendly today, so our drivers can retrieve this very important instrument."

If the divers cannot locate the black boxes, teams will attempt to lift the wreckage using large balloons, the same technique used to lift the tail section.

Once the recorders are retrieved and taken to the capital, Jakarta, for analysis, it could take up to two weeks to download data, investigators said. However, the information could be accessed in as little as two days if the devices are not badly damaged.

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

Reuters contributed to this report.