SAR team detects AirAsia QZ8501 aircraft`s tail

SAR team detects AirAsia QZ8501 aircraft`s tail

Underwater photo shows a tail section of Air Asia QZ8501 at a depth of 34 meters waters of the Java Sea on Wednesday. (ANTARA/the Indonesian Navy)

Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The joint team has detected the ill-fated AirAsia QZ8501 aircrafts tail, which usually houses the black box, the National Search and Rescue (SAR) Agency stated.

"We do not have information about its coordinates as the team from the ship that detected the plane tail directly reported the information to the emergency center. The latest information is that currently, the team has discovered the tail," Director for Training and Operation of the SAR Agency Supriyadi noted here on Wednesday.

According to Supriyadi, the team is operating an unmanned underwater vehicle to check the object.

The director stated that the search team will deploy several divers to measure the dimensions, and further efforts will be taken to hoist the object to the surface if it is indeed the tail of the QZ8501 flight.

The most important effort is to retrieve the black box and flight data recorder of the QZ8501 aircraft for carrying out further investigations into the crash.

"The object will be submitted to the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT). The team will deliver the findings to the area based on the command of KNKT, whether to Pangkalan Bun or Surabaya. However, they will likely deliver the object to Jakarta," Supriyadi remarked.

As per reports obtained until the 11th day of the search effort, the SAR Agency has, so far, found 41 bodies of the QZ8501 passengers. At least 39 of the recovered bodies have been delivered to Surabaya, East Java Province.

Supriyadi is of the viewpoint that the bodies of 50 percent of the total passengers are still inside the fuselage. Thus, the focus of the SAR team is not only the tail, but also the fuselage.

"Two bodies were recently found by fisherman in the Kalimantan Sea. A Super Puma helicopter of the Indonesian Air Force was sent to retrieve the bodies," Supriyadi noted.

Several ships involved in the search operation include KRI Hasanuddin, KRI Usman Harun, Geo Survey vessel, Baruna Jaya I ship, and Cress Onix ship.

The AirAsia Airbus A320-200, carrying 162 people on board, had gone missing on Sunday morning (Dec. 28) after losing contact with air traffic control on its way from Surabaya, East Java, to Singapore.

The Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 lost contact after the pilot requested to ascend to 38 thousand feet from 32 thousand feet to avoid rough weather over the sea area between Bangka Belitung and West Kalimantan.

The aircraft was carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members. It took off from the Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, at 5:36 a.m. local time, and lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17 a.m. local time.