QZ8501: First black box recovered from seabed

One of the black boxes has been recovered from the wreckage of AirAsia flight QZ8501, officials in Indonesia have confirmed.

The head of the country’s National Search & Rescue Agency’s (Basarnas), Vice Marshall FHB Soelistyo, told reporters on Monday that divers have now retrieved the aircraft’s flight data recorder – one of the two so-called ‘black boxes’, which details the aircraft’s technical data.

Having detected ‘pings’ from seabed over the weekend, the recovery effort had been hampered by bad weather. But Soelistyo confirmed that divers were able to relaunch the recovery effort on Monday and found the flight data recorder under the aircraft’s wing. It has now been brought to the surface.

The flight data recorder will provide information about the Airbus A320's speed, altitude and coordinates (photo by Arena Photo UK)
The flight data recorder will provide information about the Airbus A320’s speed, altitude and coordinates (photo by Arena Photo UK)

“We succeeded in bringing up part of the black box that we call the flight data recorder,” Soelistyo was quoted saying by Channel NewsAsia at a press briefing in Jakarta on Monday.

The flight data recorder will now be sent to the Indonesian capital, where its contents will be analysed by the country’s National Transport Safety Committee. Following this it will be sent to France, the home of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, for further analysis.

The discovery of the flight data recorder is likely to be crucial in discovering what caused flight QZ8501 to crash. If the data is intact, it will provide information about the Airbus A320‘s speed, altitude and coordinates.

The search for the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder, is continuing.

Flight QZ8501 was carrying 162 passengers and crew from Surabaya to Singapore on 28 December when it crashed into the sea, southwest of Borneo. Bad weather has been cited as the most likely cause of the incident.

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