‘Pings heard’ from crashed plane

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Published: Friday 9th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Search teams could be close to finding the black box flight recorders from the crashed AirAsia plane.

“Pings” that could have come from the black boxes aboard the Airbus A320-200 have been detected in the Java Sea, according to an accident investigator.

The commander of the Indonesian armed forces, General Moeldoko, told the BBC divers had been sent to investigate.

A total of 155 passengers, including Briton Choi Chi Man, and seven crew were killed when the Airbus plane, flight QZ8501, crashed in bad weather on a flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore on December 28.

The black boxes, usually housed in the tail of a plane, have ping-emitting beacons whose batteries have around 30 days of life following an accident.

According to the BBC, Santoso Sayogo, an investigator at the national transportation safety committee, said: “We received an update from the field that the pinger locator already detected pings.

“We have our fingers crossed it is the black box. Divers need to confirm. Unfortunately it seems it’s off from the tail. But the divers need to confirm the position.”

A total of six ships with ping locators have been in the search area in the Java Sea. The tail section of the plane has been detected but is said to be in a broken condition. Attempts to retrieve it have been hampered by bad weather.

So far 46 bodies have been retrieved.

The black boxes, actually orange in colour, comprise the cockpit voice recorder, which is a record of flight deck conversations in the minutes before an accident, and the flight data recorder, which enables investigators to see how the planes’ various parts were working.

One of the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) team has travelled to Indonesia to assist with the recovery of the black boxes.

The AAIB played a key role after the recovery of the black boxes from the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine last summer.

The boxes were taken to the AAIB’s headquarters at Farnborough in Hampshire where they were examined by international investigators before being handed over to the Dutch Safety Board which is leading the inquiry into MH17 disaster.

Published: Friday 9th January 2015 by The News Editor

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