AirAsia 'black box' found

INDONESIAN divers have retrieved the flight data recorder of crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501, say officials.

They believe they have also located the cockpit voice recorder, the second part of the so-called black box, but divers have not yet managed to reach it.

AirAsia flight QZ8501 disappeared in bad weather on 28 December with 162 people on board.

The aircraft, which was flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, is thought to be deep in the Java Sea.

Dozens of bodies have been recovered but most of the victims are believed to still be inside the fuselage, which has not been found.

Information such as the condition of the engine, what the pilots were doing, whether the plane had stalled and its altitude will all be revealed from the tonnes of data that is on the flight data recorder.

It is a total forensic timeline of everything that happened and is of immense importance to understanding what caused the crash.

Indonesia has said publicly that it will handle the analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders here - but it is likely that international teams will also be involved.

The unfortunate silver lining of having had so many air disasters over the last decade has meant that Indonesian teams are very well equipped to analyse the data recorders and piece together what happened. Aviation analysts expect a preliminary report within a month, and a more detailed report within a year.

Indonesian officials have been under intense pressure to find the cause of the crash. This discovery should provide some clues - and give families of those on board some semblance of closure.

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