The Indonesian military plans to lift up the tail of the AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA) jet that crashed into the Java Sea, with divers checking pings nearby that may have come from the missing black box.
The black box may not still be in the tail and military chief General Moeldoko has ordered divers to watch underwater while the structure is being lifted in case they can spot it, Oot Sudarma, an army sergeant, told the Kompas newspaper’s website today. A ping that may be from the black box has been detected 300 meters away from the tail, and the army is sending in divers to check, Indonesian news website Detik reported, citing Moeldoko.
Two days ago authorities found the tail, which houses the cockpit-voice recorder and the flight-data recorder, together known as the black box. Yet divers have not been able to locate the black box with the tail structure partly covered in mud and waves creating poor visibility. Weather at the search area, near Pangkalan Bun in the Java Sea about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of Singapore, is sunny today and will help the evacuation team, said Lukman Soleh, head of the meteorology station at Pangkalan Bun.
The black box may explain why the Airbus Group NV A320-200 jet, with 162 on board, fell from the sky on Dec. 28 while on a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore. A total of 46 bodies have been found so far, S.B. Supriyadi, operations director at national search agency, told reporters in Pangkalan Bun today.
The plane’s body may have been found near the tail, said Muhammad Ilyas, the head of oceanic surveys at the country’s technology agency. A few hundred meters away from the tail searchers have found an object that may be the plane’s nose, Muhammad Aga, the head of a survey team, told Detik today.
The single-aisle Airbus jet, operated as QZ8501 by Malaysia-based AirAsia’s Indonesia affiliate, appears to have flown into a storm cloud, with its engines possibly affected by ice formation, researchers from the Indonesia weather office wrote in a report, citing meteorological data from the flight’s last known location over the Java Sea.