Bangkok, Jan 14 (IANS/EFE) Indonesian search teams Wednesday located the main section of the fuselage of the AirAsia plane that crashed in the Java Sea Dec 28 with 162 people aboard, authorities said.
An unmanned submarine operated from Singaporean frigate MV Swift took photographs of the main part of the aircraft’s body and one of its wings, Singapore’s Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen wrote on his Facebook page.
“We have informed BASARNAS, the Indonesian search authority who can now begin recovery operations,” he wrote.
The minister added that he hoped recovery of the fuselage and possibly the remains of passengers who may have been trapped in the wreckage will help ease the grief of the victims’ families.
Rescue teams have so far recovered 48 bodies out of the 162 people who were aboard the aircraft.
Experts are currently analysing the aircraft’s black boxes, detected Sunday at a depth of 30-32 metres but which could not be disentangled from the plane’s wreckage until Monday and Tuesday.
One of the boxes, which is actually orange in colour instead of black, contains flight data and the weather conditions and the other records communications from the pilots.
According to the Transportation Safety Committee, downloading the data from the boxes takes between a few hours to a day.
Nonetheless, the analysis of the information, which is in binary code, could take anywhere from two weeks to a month and requires the use of a special programme and help from specialists from France, South Korea and Singapore.
AirAsia flight QZ8501 took off from Surabaya on Java Island Dec 28 and was scheduled to reach Singapore some two hours later, but crashed into the sea about 40 minutes after take off.
The plane’s passengers included 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, a Briton, a Frenchman, a Malaysian and a Singaporean, along with a crew of seven.