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 AirAsia flight QZ8501: Black box flight data recorder retrieved in brief period of calm seas, government officials say

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BerichtOnderwerp: AirAsia flight QZ8501: Black box flight data recorder retrieved in brief period of calm seas, government officials say   ma 12 jan 2015 - 5:42

From ABC News, 12/01/2015

Indonesian navy divers took advantage of calm weather in the Java Sea on Monday to retrieve one of the two black box flight recorders of the AirAsia airliner that crashed two weeks ago, government officials say.

The flight data recorder was retrieved on Monday, Indonesia's national search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo said.

"I received information from the National Transport Safety Committee chief that at 7.11am, we succeeded in bringing up part of the black box that we call the flight data recorder," he said.

Mr Soelistyo said the flight data recorder was found under the wreckage of a wing, and added that divers were still hunting for the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder.

He did not provide any details of the condition of the flight data recorder.

Recovering the flight data recorder is a significant development in helping crash investigators work out what caused the plane to ditch into the Java sea.

A director with the national search and rescue agency, SB Supriyadi, said that initial analysis of the wreckage indicated that the plane exploded on impact with the water.

"It exploded because of the pressure," he said.

"The cabin was pressurised and before the pressure of the cabin could be adjusted, it went down - boom. That explosion was heard in the area."

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501 lost contact with air traffic control in bad weather on December 28, less than halfway into a two-hour flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

Search teams at the weekend believed they had found the aircraft's fuselage and that the two black boxes were likely nearby.

However, strong winds, currents and high waves on Sunday hampered efforts to reach the suspected wreckage.

Conditions were favourable for search efforts on Monday morning, but could quickly turn poor, giving divers just a few hours to work.

"[The divers] began diving very early in the morning to take advantage of the weather," said Mr Supriyadi.

Less than 50 bodies have been retrieved from the Java Sea and searchers believe more will be found in the plane's fuselage.

Three vessels involved in the search have detected pings, believed to be from the black boxes, about four kilometres from where the plane's tail was raised on Saturday, in water about 30 metres deep

A director of Indonesia's transport ministry, Tonny Budiono, said divers had found the location of the black box and planned to gradually shift layers of the aircraft debris to retrieve it.

If that failed, teams would lift the debris using large balloons, the same technique used to lift the tail section.

Once the recorders taken to the Jakarta for analysis, it could take up to two weeks to download data, investigators said.

However, the information could be accessed in as little as two days if the devices are not badly damaged.

The cause of the crash is not known, but the national weather bureau has said seasonal storms were likely to be a factor.

Indonesia AirAsia, 49 per cent owned by the Malaysia-based AirAsia budget group, has come under pressure from authorities in Jakarta since the crash.

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

The transport ministry has suspended the carrier's Surabaya-Singapore licence for flying without permission on the Sunday. However, the ministry has said this had no bearing on the crash of flight QZ8501.

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