Acoustic equipment to search for AirAsia black boxes

A multinational team will conduct an underwater search with acoustic equipment at the suspected crash site of AirAsia jet to recover the plane’s black box flight recorders.

Bad weather prevented the divers from looking for the wreck of the Airbus A320-200, which was carrying 162 people from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore. 

According to France’s BAE, a ship with two hydrophones – underwater listening devices – was due to arrive at the scene with experts from France, Singapore and Indonesia aboard.

"With the increasing amount of evidence and data, it's very likely we're getting closer to the fuselage of the AirAsia aircraft, based on what has been detected by sea vessels," Supriadi, operations director of the Indonesian search and rescue agency, told reporters.

Once found, the black boxes would determine the sequence of events that led to the crash of Flight QZ8501. Search teams based in the northern Java Sea, close to Karimata Strait, have recovered bodies along with debris such as a suitcase, an emergency slide and a life jacket. 

Experts say that finding the boxes should be relatively straightforward if the beacons, with a range of 2,000m to 3,000m, are working and given Flight QZ8501 crashed in shallow seas.

The theory put forward by investigators is that the plane stalled as it climbed steeply to avoid a storm about 40 minutes after take-off.

The plane was travelling at 9,753m and had asked to fly at 11,582m. Air traffic controllers received no response after they granted permission for a rise to 10,363m a few minutes later.

The search for the jet is unlikely to be as technologically challenging as the two-year search for an Air France plane that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009 or for Malaysian Flight 370, which disappeared last year.

On board Flight QZ8501 were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans, and one person each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain. The co-pilot was French. No survivors have been found so far.  

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