Indonesian investigators have recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage of the AirAsia aircraft that crashed into the Java Sea in late December.
The device is the second of the two black boxes of the ill-fated jet to have been retrieved. The Flight Data Recorder, storing in-flight data, was found yesterday and has already been transported to Jakarta for analysis.
"Today we have completed searching for the main things that we have been looking for," said Rear Admiral Widodo, the commander of the Indonesian Navy's western fleet. "But the team will still try to find the body of the plane in case there are still bodies inside."
The cockpit voice recorder stores recordings of conversations between the pilots in the cockpit and their communication with ground controllers. It rewrites its content every two hours, which means it should hold information from the final phase of the flight ahead of the fatal crash.
The cockpit voice recorder was found near to the flight data recorder but was located under a piece of wreckage, which the divers had to lift from the seabed.
Data from both black boxes will be analysed in Jakarta. The investigators said this could take up to a month.
The AirAsia Airbus A320-200 operating Flight QZ8501 from Surabaya, Indonesia’s biggest city, to Singapore was hit by a storm on the night of 28 December. For reasons that are not yet known, the jet plunged into the sea after climbing up to more than 11.5km, killing all 162 people aboard.
The incident concluded what has been an extremely tragic year for aviation. Malaysia Airlines lost two aircraft in 2014, one of which still hasn’t been found.
It was the first fatal accident for AirAsia.
Bad weather in the region hindered the search for the plane and bodies of the victims in the first two weeks. Rescuers have so far recovered only 48 bodies, much to the dismay of the victims' relatives.