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AirAsia cockpit voice recorder recovered

January 13, 2015

Divers have recovered the cockpit voice recorder from AirAsia flight QZ 8501, which crashed into the Java Sea off the island of Borneo. This came a day after the flight data recorder was brought to the surface.

AirAsia / Blackbox / Flugschreiber / Suche / Karte
Image: picture-alliance/Photoshot

Indonesian transportation ministry official Tonny Budiono confirmed to the Associated Press on Tuesday that the second black box had been recovered from the seabed, 30 meters (98 feet) below the surface of the Java Sea.

"Thank God," he said. "This is good news for investigators to reveal the cause of the plane crash."

Separately, the AFP news agency cited an unnamed official who said the cockpit voice recorder had "been found and lifted from the sea". The official added that the black box had initially been taken to the navy ship Banda Aceh.

The device is to be flown on to Jakarta, where the recording of the conversation between the captain and his copilot are to be downloaded for analysis.

The two black boxes are considered key to any investigation into an air crash. The voice recorder captures all conversations between members of the flight crew as well as between the pilots and air traffic control. The flight data recorder stores a wealth of technical information about the flight, including altitude, airspeed, direction, engine thrust, and the rate of ascent or descent.

Permission to ascend delayed

AirAsia flight QZ8501, with 162 people on board, disappeared from radar screens on December 28. In their last contact with air-traffic control, the pilots had asked to climb from 32,000 feet (9,750 meters) to 38,000 feet (11,580 meters) to avoid bad weather. However, this request was initially denied due to other air traffic in the area. By the time air traffic control tried to grant the request a few minutes later, the flight had already dropped off the radar.

So far only 48 bodies have been recovered. Officials believe the bodies of most of the passengers and crew are inside the fuselage, which remains at the bottom of the Java Sea.

pfd/bk (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)