Black box located on sea floor

THE black box flight recorder that could explain why an AirAsia jet carrying 162 people crashed into the Java Sea has been found under wreckage on the sea floor, Indonesian officials announced yesterday.

“The divers found the black box among the wreckage at a depth of about 30m,” Indonesia’s Marine Transport department spokesman Tonny Budiono said.

Divers would have no trouble retrieving the black box but ran out of time to do so yesterday and left a marker buoy anchored above it, he said.

“First we will move the debris, and if that does not reveal the black box we will use floating balloons to lift the debris,” he said.

It has been two weeks since the low-cost airline’s Airbus 320 crashed while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore.

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disappeared from radar on the morning of December 28, as it flew near fierce storms off the south-western tip of Borneo.

Two weeks on from the disaster, more than 100 of the 162 passengers and crew remain unaccounted for.

On Saturday, salvage teams used large balloons to raise the plane’s bright red tail section from the seabed. Photographs showed the plane’s largely intact tail on the deck of the Crest Onyx, a rescue ship. So far, 48 bodies have been recovered. The bodies of three more victims were identified yesterday: a 19-year-old Indonesian called Vera Chandra Kho, and Park Seong-beom and Lee Kyung-Hwa, a married couple who were South Korean missionaries. Their 11-month-old daughter has yet to be found. – The Daily Telegraph

– Tom Phillips

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