15 Jan 2015

AirAsia fuselage found

6:36 am on 15 January 2015

Search teams have located the main fuselage of the AirAsia plane that crashed into the Java Sea last month with the loss of all 162 on board, officials say.

The fuselage has been located in the Java Sea.

The fuselage has been located in the Java Sea. Photo: AFP / Republic of Singapore Navy

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen posted pictures taken by a Singaporean search robot on his Facebook page.

AirAsia lost contact with the flight on 28 December as it was flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore.

Dozens of bodies have been found but many of the passengers and crew are thought to still be inside the plane, which made finding the fuselage so important.

So far the plane's two flight recorders and a tail section have been found and brought to shore.

Investigators are analysing the information in the "black box", as the data recorders are known, to piece together the cause of the crash.

The pilot of the AirAsia flight had asked for a route change because of stormy weather before contact was lost, but it is not yet known for certain what brought down the plane.

"The MV Swift Rescue has located the fuselage of the AirAsia plane in the Java Sea," Mr Ng said on Facebook, adding that Singapore had informed the Indonesian search and rescue agency so that recovery operations could begin.

He said images taken by a remotely operated vehicle, which he posted as well, showed part of the wing and words on the fuselage that matched with those on the AirAsia flight. The AirAsia slogan "Now everyone can fly" could be seen on the wreckage in the pictures.

The fuselage, the part of the plane that holds pilots and passengers, was discovered about 3 kilometres from where the tail of the aircraft was retrieved last weekend at the bottom of the Java Sea, Indonesian officials said.

So far 50 bodies have been plucked from the Java Sea, with most brought to Surabaya for identification. Searchers believe more bodies will be found in the plane's fuselage.

- BBC, Reuters

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