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Divers retrieve AirAsia jet’s cockpit data recorder from sea


Jakarta/Singapore: Divers today retrieved the cockpit voice recorder of the AirAsia jet that plunged into the Java Sea two weeks ago with 162 people aboard, giving experts essential tools to unravel the mystery of the crash.

The cockpit voice recorder has been retrieved from the bottom of the Java Sea and it is now on an Indonesian navy ship, said an Indonesian official.

The device will be flown to the capital, Jakarta, to be downloaded and analyzed with the flight data recorder.

“This is good news for investigators to reveal the cause of the plane crash,” said Tonny Budiono, sea navigation director at the Transportation Ministry.

The discoveries of two recorders is a major breakthrough for the searchers who were frustrated by the bad weather over the past two weeks in their rescue mission.

Indonesian officials are now hopeful of finding answers to the mysterious crash of the Airbus 320-200 which plunged into Java Sea with 162 passengers and crew on December 28. Investigators will examine the recorder for any leads in to determine the cause of the crash of the Flight QZ8501, en route from Indonesia’s Surabaya city to Singapore.

The black box consists of two pieces of equipment, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. These recorders are important because they should contain the pilots’ final words and possibly various flight data.

Stored in a plane’s tail, the recorders are designed to begin sending off distinct, high-pitched signals as soon as they come in contact with water.

The batteries powering the black boxes are certified to be working for 30 days. Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with ground control on December 28, less than half way into a two-hour flight and crashed possibly due to bad weather.

Only 48 bodies, including at least two strapped to their seats, have been found in the choppy waters so far despite over two weeks of search operations. Officials have said the multi-national search operation’s top priority will be recovering bodies, and then retrieving the black box.

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