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AirAsia Flight Recorders Headed for Jakarta for Analysis

  • VOA News

Indonesian divers have now retrieved both flight recorders, or "black boxes," from the AirAsia jet that crashed into the Java Sea last month, killing all 162 people aboard.

Divers brought up the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder, early Tuesday -- a day after locating and retrieving the flight data recorder. The two recorders together, once analyzed in Jakarta, are expected to give a clearer picture of what caused the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 on December 28.

Powerful currents, large waves and blinding silt have hindered divers' efforts throughout the search, but they took advantage of calmer early morning conditions on Monday and Tuesday to recover the boxes.

Analyzing the information could take up to two weeks, officials said.

The flight data recorder holds a wealth of information on many of the plane's instruments, while the cockpit voice recorder stores radio transmissions and sounds in the cockpit.

At present, investigators believe the plane crashed while trying to avoid a storm on their flight from Surabaya to Singapore.

The Airbus 320 vanished from radar screens over the northern Java Sea less than halfway into its two-hour flight.

Only 48 bodies have been recovered so far.

Still looking for fuselage

Authorities have said their priority is now to find the main body of the jet, where searchers hope most of the rest of the victims will be recovered. Several large pieces of wreckage have been spotted on the ocean floor.

Government officials also sought on Tuesday to reassure victims' families that divers would continue to search for bodies.

"Our main task is to find the victims," Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters in Jakarta before heading to Surabaya to meet families of the victims.

"Even if both (black boxes) are found, it doesn't mean that our operation is over," Soelistyo said.

Relatives of the victims urged authorities to continue to search for the remains of their loved ones.

"Even if the search has to last for a month, we are still hoping to find them," Lioni, who lost four family members in the plane crash, told Reuters. "If they can find even one (of my family members), we would feel a little bit relieved."

Some information for this report came from Reuters, AFP and AP.

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