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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 21, 2018


AirAsia CEO says flight recorders of crashed airliner have been found


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JAKARTA, Indonesia - AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes has suggested on Twitter that a breakthrough may be near in the search for missing flight QZ8501.

Fernandes tweeted he had received "strong information" that the airliner's "black box" flight recorders had been found by search teams in the Java Sea.

There has been no confirmation, but it comes amid a large international operation to locate the plane's main fuselage, believed to contain missing bodies and the flight data recorders.

AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disappeared in bad weather on December 28th while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board.

Fernandes, AirAsia's chief executive, tweeted on Sunday that a breakthrough in the search may be near.

"Still not confirmed. But strong info coming. But my man [sic] thoughts is fuselage," he tweeted.

"Let's hope today is a major breakthrough day and we can find main fuselage," he'd tweeted earlier in the day.

An official involved in the search confirmed that a large object resembling the plane's fuselage was found in a sonar scan of the search area in the Java Sea.

But Supriyadi, operations coordinator for Indonesia's search and rescue agency, insisted that reports that the fuselage had been found had not been confirmed.

Officials hope the "black box" flight recorders will be near the fuselage, which is close to where the tail was found.

Supriyadi has said that if the body of the plane is found, the first priority of search teams would be to remove the remains of victims, with the black boxes removed afterward.

The tail of the airliner was recovered by search teams on Saturday and search and recovery ships have been hearing pings, believed to be from the aircraft's black boxes, near where the tail of the Airbus A320-200 was retrieved from the ocean.

Rescue workers have been pulling bodies and wreckage from the sea, but progress has been slow due to rough sea conditions. Forty-eight bodies have been retrieved so far. Divers are due to investigate the object detected on sonar as soon as conditions improve.

The flight data recorders are believed to be investigator's best hope of discovering what caused the airliner to crash suddenly during the flight. Speculation has revolved around the storm systems in the area at the time the Airbus went down.

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