Indonesia fails to confirm pings, lift tail of crashed AirAsia jet

None
None
JAKARTA. KAZINFORM Underwater signals detected by Indonesian rescuers was not confirmed in the efforts to find the black boxes of the ill-fated AirAsia flight QZ8501, while efforts to raise the tail failed due to bad weather on Friday.

Indonesia Military Commander General Moeldoko said on Friday morning that pings that possibly emitted from the black boxes of the plane, which crashed on Dec. 28 en route from Indonesia's Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board, were detected some 300 meters from the location of tail. Sonar and divers located the tail, where the boxes are usually housed, in the secondary search area 34 meters under the sea. The boxes, which are crucial to determining the cause of the jet crash, can still send signals for two weeks before the battery goes dead, Xinhua reports. However, Chief of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) Bambang Soelistyo was unable to confirm that the signals were indeed emitted from the black boxes of the crashed plane. "If any signals were indeed caught, then we need special equipment to confirm the finding," Soelistye told a press conference on Friday. Indonesian rescuers have been struggling to salvage the tail Friday in hope of retrieving the boxes, but bad weather and strong current hindered the effort. "The efforts are yet to succeed due to strong undersea stream and low visibility," Director of Operation and Training of BASARNAS SB Supriyadi told Xinhua, adding that his team will continue trying to use a crane or a floating balloon to pluck the wreckage from the seabed. Four more bodies were recovered by Friday with two of them being strapped into the seats, bringing the total to 48, Soelistyo said. At a press conference on Friday, Indonesian Transport Ministry Ignasius Jonan said 61 flights from five domestic airlines were suspended due to the violation of flying regulations. The sanction came after the minister vowed to overhaul the air safety standards. Indonesia has one of the world's fastest growing aviation markets, but with patchy safety record. The ministry has proposed a 10 percent increase in budget airline ticket prices for domestic flights to ensure airlines do not cut corners on safety. Bad weather is believed to a contributing factor of the crash. Just before losing contact, the pilot told air traffic control he was approaching threatening clouds, but was denied permission to climb a higher altitude because of heavy traffic. No distress signal was issued. Two Chinese rescue vessels will arrive at the waters off Pangkalan Bun, a town on Borneo island's Central Kalimantan Province closest to the wreckage at 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning in the search for the debris and bodies of the victims, Shen Minjuan, political counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia, told Xinhua on Friday.

Currently reading