Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Indonesia says AirAsia plane tail found, raising black box hopes.Drive Hot News

Indonesia said Wednesday it had found the tail of an AirAsia plane that crashed into the sea with 162 people on board, raising hopes of finding its black boxes and explaining the disaster.
Search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said he was sure of the discovery after divers took photographs of the tail, wedged into the seabed 30 metres (100 feet) underwater, on which the company's logo could be seen.
"We have successfully obtained part of the plane that has been our target. The tail portion has been confirmed found," Soelistyo told reporters in Jakarta.
AirAsia Flight 8501 vanished from radar screens during a storm on December 28 when it was flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore. All but seven of those on board were Indonesian.
The Indonesian meteorological agency said weather was the "triggering factor" of the crash in the Java Sea, with ice likely damaging the engines of the Airbus A320-200.
But a much clearer explanation is not possible without the black boxes, which record the pilots' voices as well as flight information. They were housed in the aircraft's tail.
"I am led to believe the tail section has been found. If right part of tail section then the black box should be there," AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes wrote on Twitter after the announcement.
"We need to find all parts soon so we can find all (our) guests to ease the pain of our families. That still is our priority."
Despite a huge operation assisted by US, Russian and other foreign military assets, progress in finding the wreckage of the plane and its passengers has been patchy with stormy weather severely hampering the search. So far 40 bodies have been found, all of them floating at sea.
And despite the discovery of the tail, authorities could not say when the black boxes would be found and retrieved.
One problem is the tail being deep into the seabed, according to chief maritime affairs minister Indroyono Soesilo.
The search for the rest of the plane would now focus on a two-nautical-mile area surrounding the tail, with a remotely controlled mini-submarine a key part of the effort, Soesilo and other senior Indonesian officials told a press conference.
Many of the bodies yet to be recovered were likely in the main parts of the plane that have yet to be found, they said.
Action against air officials -
Indonesia's transport ministry said on Wednesday that it had fired one transport official and disciplined several others in a crackdown following the crash, as it investigated how the flight was able to depart without permission.
Indonesia alleges the plane was flying on an unauthorised schedule when it crashed and AirAsia has since been suspended from flying the Surabaya-Singapore route.
"To date, we have taken action against eight officials -- two from the transport ministry, four from state navigation operator AirNav, and two airport officials," Hadi Mustofa, an official with the transport ministry's public affairs office, 
"One of the transport ministry officials was fired and the other official was temporarily suspended. As for the other six officials, some have been temporarily suspended and some have been transferred."Source AFP.