Indonesia’s Directorate General of Marine Transport has confirmed that the black box of AirAsia QZ8501 has been found, Indonesian authorities said in a press release on Sunday (Jan 11). The breakthrough comes exactly two weeks after the flight from Surabaya to Singapore went down with 162 people on board.
In the release, coordinator of the Directorate General of Marine Transport Tonny Budiono said navy divers from Indonesia navy ship KN Jadayat found the black box at a depth of 30 to 32 meters.
The black box is currently wedged between pieces of wreckage making it difficult for divers to retrieve, and due to time constraints, retrieval will take place on Monday morning, said Mr Budiono. The search crew will attempt to retrieve the black box by moving parts of wreckage to loosen it from where it is currently stuck, and if that fails, the same balloon method used to lift the tail of the plane will be employed.
To facilitate recovery efforts, a marker buoy has been installed at the site where the black box is, added Mr Budiono.
UPDATE (12:50pm, 12th Jan):
According to AFP, Indonesian divers have retrieved the flight data recorder of the AirAsia plane that went down in the Java Sea a fortnight ago with 162 people on board, a crucial breakthrough that should help explain what caused the crash. The recorder, one of two black boxes containing vital information, was brought to the surface at 7:11 am (0011 GMT), said national search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo, after a lengthy, frustrating search often hampered by bad weather.
“We succeeded in bringing up part of the black box that we call the flight data recorder,” Soelistyo told reporters in the capital Jakarta. He said that it was found under the wreckage of a wing and added that divers were still hunting for the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.
#BREAKING Flight data recorder retrieved from crashed AirAsia jet: official
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) January 12, 2015
The flight data recorder monitors factors such as airspeed and heading, while the cockpit voice recorder stores radio transmissions and sounds in the cockpit.
UPDATE (9pm, 13th Jan):
AirAsia has released an official statement to confirm that both black boxes have been found:
AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 13th JANUARY 2015 9:00 PM (GMT+7)
SURABAYA, 13TH JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia today announced that Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of QZ8501 aircraft has been found and lifted from the seafloor this morning. The CVR was found at a distance of approximately 20 meter from the location where the flight data recorder was found yesterday.
Following this finding, BASARNAS confirmed that both parts of the aircraft’s blackbox (flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder) have been evacuated and flown to Jakarta for further investigation by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).
Meanwhile in Surabaya, BASARNAS chief, Marshal Bambang Soelistyo visited the crisis center in East Java Region Police Headquarter this afternoon to have a direct dialogue with the families and loved ones of QZ 8501’s passengers and crew.
During the dialogue, Bambang Soelistyo assured the family that the main SAR operation is still on-going and their main priority is to search and recover the passengers despite weather and underwater current challenges faced by the SAR team.
The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) announced that two more passengers have been identified as: Oscar Desano (male) and Yuni Astutik (female) today.
To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered a total of 48 remains of which 36 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 12 remains are still being identified.
AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.
National Transport Safety Committee senior investigator Mardjono Siswosuwarno told AFP that the black boxes would be sent to Jakarta and analysed at the committee’s laboratory.