The tail section of AirAsia Flight 8501 was lifted from the floor of the Java Sea on Saturday and loaded on to a ship, but searchers continued hunting for the plane’s black box data recorders on the bottom of the sea.
Suyadi Bambang Supriyadi, director of operations for Indonesia’s search-and-recovery agency, said Saturday evening that the black boxes weren’t in the tail section and that they fell into the sea.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee Chairman, Tatang Kurniadi, said he believed the boxes were within a kilometer of the site where the tail was found, and that is where the search is now focused.
The mangled tail section, the first significant piece of the plane to be recovered, was being taken to the port of Kumai near here so that air crash investigators can examine it for clues to what caused the aircraft to crash into the sea on Dec. 28 with 162 passengers aboard. The wreckage was found about 100 miles offshore.
The recovery team used inflatable bags to lift the tail section off the sea floor and a crane to load it onto the ship.
Divers continued searching underwater for the black box data recorders, but the sea bottom is very muddy, the currents are strong and visibility is limited, hampering their efforts.