‘Pings’ detected in search for AirAsia flight recorders

By Erin Clingenpeel

SURABAYA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) -- Indonesian search and rescue teams have detected signals in the search for the flight recorders of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, nearly two weeks after the passenger plane crashed into the Java Sea with more than 160 people on board, officials said Friday.

"We received an update from the field that the pinger locator already detected pings," Santoso Sayogo, who is an investigator at the National Transportation Safety Committee in Indonesia, was quoted as saying by the BBC. Divers have been sent to investigate the signals in the hopes of locating the black box.

Flight recorders are designed to survive a plane crash as well as being submerged underwater, and are programmed to emit "pings" until the battery runs out, which is typically after about 30 days. Finding the flight recorders has been one of the top priorities of Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) because the flight recorders could provide crucial evidence about what happened to the plane.

The rear part of the aircraft, which normally houses the flight recorders, was spotted on Wednesday by an unmanned underwater vehicle about 30 meters (98 feet) under water. Bambang Sulistyo, the head of BASARNAS, said teams would attempt to lift the tail end of the plane out of the water using a crane to prevent further damage, but bad weather conditions continue to hamper recovery efforts.

Divers also recovered seven more bodies on Friday, including two passengers who were found on the sea floor and were still strapped into their seats, Sulistyo said. It raises the number of bodies recovered so far to 48, including 27 which have already been identified, but officials believe more bodies will be found inside the fuselage of the plane.

Sulistyo said their first priority is to find victims who have not yet been recovered.

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