World Bulletin/News Desk
Indonesian authorities say a warship has detected “pings” from the back box of an AirAsia plane that crashed in the Java Sea last month with 162 people on board.
Indonesian army’s commander Moeldoko – who like many Indonesians uses only one name – said Friday that the Jadayat navigation ship’s sonar system detected black box signals around 1.5 miles from where the plane’s tail section was discovered earlier this week.
"It is certainly a black box because of the sonar sound 'ping'," the Kompas.com news website quoted Moeldoko as saying.
Explaining that another large aircraft part had been detected in the Karimata Strait, between the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, he added, "we immediately sent six divers there to follow up."
Earlier in the day, divers secured three floatation bags around the approximately 10-meter tail section of Flight QZ8501, found upside down on the sea floor Wednesday at a depth of 30 meters.
Oot Sudarma, a diver who reported to General Moeldoko after a 62-minute search, said: "We have been searching around the tail area, but did not find the black box."
He added that it would be easier to survey the section once the tail is lifted free of the mud on the sea floor.
Nearly two weeks after Flight QZ8501 went missing, 48 bodies have been discovered but concerns about decomposition are mounting as time passes.
Bambang Soelistyo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, told a press conference at the agency’s headquarters that two more bodies were found tied to their passenger seats Fridays.
"The teams detected an object, then dove into the sea, and retrieved the chair and bodies," he added.
Since the flight went down Dec. 28, dozens of ships and aircraft have been concentrating on an area about 90 nautical miles (166 kilometers) from Borneo's southwestern coast.
The last voice contact with the aircraft was at 06.12 a.m. when the pilot requested permission to alter course and change altitude to avoid storm clouds.
The majority of those on board were Indonesian, although the co-pilot was French and the passengers included three South Koreans, a Malaysian and a British national reportedly traveling with his Singaporean daughter.Last Mod: 09 Ocak 2015, 14:32