Investigators searching for black boxes in the crashed AirAsia plane lifted the tail portion out of the Java Sea yesterday, two weeks ago after it went down, killing all 162 people on board.
It was not immediately clear if the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were still inside the tail or had been detached when the Airbus A320 plummeted into the sea on Dec. 28.
The tail was hoisted from a depth of about 30m, using inflatable bags that were attached to the rear of the aircraft and a crane to lift it onto a rescue ship.
Intermittent underwater ping-like sounds were picked up on Friday about 1km from where the tail was located, but it was unclear if they were coming from the recorders located in the back of the aircraft. It was possible the signals were coming from another source.
The discovery of the tail on the ocean floor was a major breakthrough in the slow-moving search that has been hampered by seasonal rains, choppy seas and blinding silt from river runoff.
Four additional bodies were recovered on Friday — two of them still strapped in their seats — bringing the total to 48.
Officials hope many of the remaining corpses will be found inside the fuselage, which has not yet been located by divers.
Several large objects have been spotted in the area by sonar.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation Ignasius Jonan cracked down on five airlines on Friday, temporarily suspending 61 flights, because they were flying routes on days without permits.
Earlier, all AirAsia flights from Surabaya to Singapore, the path Flight 8501 was on when it went down on Dec. 28, were suspended after it was discovered that the low-cost carrier was not authorized to fly on Sundays.
Jonan also sanctioned nine more officials for allowing the plane to fly without permits, bringing the total to 16.
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