Indonesian Divers Retrieve AirAsia Flight Data Recorder

Crew lift the wreckage of the AirAsia aircraft after it was hoisted from the Java Sea during their recovery mission at Panglima Utar Kumai Harbour in Kumai, Central Borneo, Indonesia, January 11. EPA/BAGUS INDAHONO

By Ahmad Pathoni

JAKARTA (DPA) – Indonesian Navy divers on Monday retrieved the flight data recorder from the AirAsia plane that crashed last month with 162 people on board, the search chief said.

"At 7.11 am the search team managed to lift a part of the black box, namely flight data recorder," said Bambang Sulistyo, the head of the National Search and Rescue Agency.

The device was wedged beneath a wing of the aircraft, he said. 

The cockpit voice recorder had not been found, Bambang said.

Data from the recorders help investigators determine the chain of events leading to an accident, and the root cause of it. 

Bambang said searchers also found a gaping hole on the sea floor, believed to be the result of an impact with the aircraft, and parts of the wing and the engine. 

Searchers lifted the aircraft's tail from the bottom of the sea on Saturday. 

AirAsia flight QZ8501 was flying from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28 when it disappeared from radar somewhere above the Karimata Strait in the Java Sea.

So far, 48 bodies have been retrieved from the water, but no survivors have been found. 

Officials believe that many of the victims are still trapped in the aircraft's fuselage.  

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