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Divers retrieve AirAsia jet’s flight data recorder from sea

Part of the tail of AirAsia QZ8501 floats on the surface after being lifted as Indonesian navy divers conduct search operations for the black box flight recorders and passengers and crew of the aircraft, in the Java Sea

Jakarta/Singapore: Indonesian divers today retrieved crucial flight data recorder and located cockpit voice recorder of the AirAsia plane that plunged into the Java Sea two weeks ago with 162 people aboard, raising hopes of unravelling the mystery of the crash soon.

“I received information from the National Transport Safety Committee chief that at 07:11 am (local time), we have managed to get part of black box or the flight data recorder (FDR),” Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Basarnas, told reporters.

“What we have found and carried is the FDR” and we confirmed this as the object has a tag number and serial – PN-2100-4043-02 and serial number SN-000556583, he said.

The flight data recorder was found under the debris of the plane’s wing. It was loaded onto a ship and will now be transported to investigators in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, the cockpit voice recorder has also been located 20m from the flight data recorder, said Search and Rescue (SAR) Director of Operations Supriyadi.

The authorities have cordoned off the black box search area from passing ships, and have applied radio silence so that they can hear the signal.

The focus would be to retrieve the cockpit recorder, said the officials.

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 from Indonesia to Singapore and crashed possibly due to bad weather.

In his last communication, the pilot of the Airbus A320-200 said he wanted to change course to avoid a storm. Then all contact was lost.

Only 48 bodies, including at least two strapped to their seats, have been found in the choppy waters.

Indonesia’s Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan assured the search to find the still untraced bodies would be funded by the State budget and the efforts would continue no matter how long it would take.

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