Search teams fail to locate AirAsia black box

Passenger jet's tail recovered from ocean floor after two weeks of efforts hampered by rains, rough seas and heavy silt.

    Search teams fail to locate AirAsia black box
    The tail was found on Wednesday about 30km from the plane's last known location [Al Jazeera]

    Indonesian search-and-rescue teams have raised the tail of an AirAsia passenger jet that crashed nearly two weeks ago, but have yet to locate the "black box" flight recorders.

    The search for the recorders of Flight QZ8501, which crashed on December 28, continues.

    Their recovery is essential to finding out the details of the incident that killed 162 people on board.

    The tail was hoisted on Saturday from a depth of about 30 metres using inflatable bags that were attached to the rear of the Airbus A320 aircraft and a crane to lift it onto a rescue ship.

    Intermittent underwater ping-like sounds were picked up on Friday about a kilometre from where the tail was located.

    However, it was unclear if they were coming from the recorders located in the back of the aircraft.

    It was possible the signals were coming from another source.

    No metal was detected at the ping location, and Nurcahyo Utomo, a National Commission for Transportation Safety investigator, said the sounds could not be confirmed.

    Bodies found

    The discovery of the tail on the ocean floor earlier this week was a major breakthrough in the slow-moving search that has been hampered by seasonal rains, rough seas and heavy silt from river run-off.

    The last contact the pilots had with air traffic control, about halfway into their two-hour journey, indicated they were entering stormy weather.

    They asked to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft to avoid threatening clouds, but were denied permission because of heavy air traffic above them. Four minutes later, the aircraft dropped off the radar.

    Four additional bodies were recovered on Friday - two of them still strapped in their seats on the ocean floor - bringing the total to 48.

    Officials hope many of the remaining corpses will be found inside the fuselage, which has not yet been located by divers. Several large objects have been spotted in the area by sonar.

    On Friday, Ignasius Jonan, Indonesia's transportation minister, cracked down on five airlines, temporarily suspending 61 flights because they were flying routes on days without permits.

    Earlier, all AirAsia flights from Surabaya to Singapore, the path Flight QZ8501 was on when it went down on December 28, were suspended after it was discovered that the low-cost carrier was not authorised to fly on Sundays.

    Jonan also sanctioned nine more officials for allowing the plane to fly without permits, bringing the total to 16.


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