The two-component black box, including the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, of AirAsia flight QZ8501 has finally been found by divers of the search teams in the Java sea today, 12th of January.
Some of the remains of the airplane lifted off the sea
Black box found a week after the tail
Bambang Soelistyo from Jakarta, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, commented on the first discovery: “I received information from the National Transport Safety Committee chief that at 07:11 (00:11 GMT), we succeeded in bringing up part of the black box that we call the flight data recorder. What we are still trying to find is the cockpit voice recorder.”
On Friday, 8th of January, the search authorities were confident of finding the black box within a week’s time, mostly because the tail of the airplane had been spotted last week, on Wednesday.
The search operations last week
Finding the two-piece black box was initially hindered by the strong currents and high waves. The tail was fortunately found and lifted off the sea, but it did not show any sign of the black box.
As the weather allowed for better navigation, the divers finally spotted the flight data recorder. If it is still undamaged, it will provide an accurate description of what really happened to the plane.
The critical importance of the black box
The mysterious black box was said to have been attached in vicinity of the tail, and, therefore, finding it was only a matter of time. The main objective of the divers was to locate both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder to be able to reconstruct the events that led to the crash. The flight data recorder is said to have been located under the wreck of a wing when the divers identified it. The second device (the cockpit voice recorder) was then later found at the base of the airplane.
Picture showing location of the black box
The flight data recorder will hopefully help decipher the mystery of the fate of the airplane. The investigators will now have to analyse the information it has preserved since the 28th of December when the plane went missing. The detailed events will now be documented, with the exact time of each indicated by the black box data. Furthermore, invaluable pieces of information relating to the condition of the engine, the steps taken by the pilots, the altitude of plane all the while will be drawn out.
International assistance might be sought to handle the recorders, but otherwise, the analysis thereof will be done in Indonesia itself; Indonesian teams have earned the required experience to deal with this.
A preliminary report will be made ready in around four weeks, with a detailed one following in a time period spanning over a year.
The search for bodies is still ongoing. It is believed that the majority of the corpses are in fuselage which is yet to be found. All the ships of the search teams will now focus mostly on finding the bodies.