Indonesian officials have located the fuselage and flight recorders of crashed Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501, according to media reports.
News agency Agence France-Presse quoted an Indonesian transport ministry spokesperson saying: “The navy divers in Jadayat state boat have succeeded in finding a very important instrument, the black box of AirAsia QZ8501”.
While the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorders appear to have been found, they remain some 30 metres under water on the Java Sea floor.
The search and rescue (SAR) effort, led by Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS), had raised the tail of the Airbus A320 aircraft – registration PK-AXC – over the weekend. However, the aircraft’s two flight recorders – the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder – had been separated from the tail.
BASARNAS had also detected “pings” thought to be from the aircraft’s flight recorders.
Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency said BASARNAS believed it had found the fuselage of the aircraft, based on sonar scans which showed an object 10 metres in length.
AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes said on Twitter on Sunday he believed the black boxes had been found, with “strong info coming”, and added that his main thought was the aircraft’s fuselage.
QZ8501 crashed enroute from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Airbus A320 – registration PK-AXC – 42 minutes into the flight, which carried 162 people.
Indonesia AirAsia said on Sunday 48 bodies had so far been recovered from the crash site.