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Divers Retrieve AirAsia Cockpit Voice Recorder

  • VOA News

Divers have now retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from the AirAsia jet that crashed into the Java Sea last month, killing 162 people.

An Indonesian official says the recorder is on an Indonesian navy ship and on its way to Jakarta for analysis.

Divers brought up the flight data recorder on Monday.

Investigators hope the recorders will give them vital clues into why the Airbus crashed into the sea December 28 when the pilots apparently tried avoiding a storm.

It is hoped that the information contained on the two recorders will help investigators determine why the Airbus A320 plunged into the sea less than halfway into its two-hour flight from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28, killing all 162 people aboard.

Crash speculation

S.B. Supriyadi, a director of Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency, said initial analysis showed that part of the plane may have exploded when it hit water due to changes in air pressure. However officials have urged experts not to speculate until the initial investigation is completed.

So far, 48 bodies have been recovered.

Search officials said they expect more bodies will be found in the submerged fuselage of the plane, which is in the sea’s relatively shallow waters.

Indonesia’s transport ministry suspended AirAsia’s license for the Surabaya-Singapore route, for which it did not have permission to fly on that ill-fated Sunday. But the ministry said this had no bearing on the crash of Flight 8501, which is believed to have encountered a severe storm.

Before takeoff and during the last moments of the flight, the pilots requested to fly at a higher altitude to avoid a storm. The request was not approved because other planes were in the area.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo said the crash has brought to light widespread problems with air travel management in the country, the world’s fourth largest, which sprawls across an archipelago composed of thousands of islands.

Steve Herman contributed to this report from Bangkok.

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