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Rescue Operations Recover 84 Bodies Of AirAsia Crash Victims

Flight QZ8501 — carrying 162 passengers and crew — dropped off the radar Sunday during its route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. A naval ship using underwater imaging has found the main portion of the plane, where many of the bodies are expected to be found.

The cockpit voice recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 on January 13. Antara Foto / Reuters

What We Know So Far

  • Bodies of 84 victims have been recovered so far.
  • A Naval ship using underwater imaging located the fuselage of missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea on Jan. 14. It’s expected that many of the victims will be found in the cabin.
  • Divers on Jan. 11 retrieved the flight data recorder, while the cockpit voice recorder was retrieved the following day, officials said.
  • The plane’s tail section was lifted from the sea floor Jan. 9 using giant balloons.
  • Bodies were found in an area where debris was spotted near Borneo.
  • The airline said the plane was carrying 162 people, including two pilots, four flight attendants, and an engineer. The passenger manifest is here.
  • The flight lost contact with air traffic control while flying from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore.
  • Radar data suggests the plane made an “unbelievably” steep climb before crashing.
  • Indonesian Transport Minister said the plane climbed at a speed which was “beyond normal” then stalled.

Updates

A total of 84 bodies have been recovered by rescue operations, AirAsia said Tuesday.

Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency recovered 13 bodies suspected to be that of QZ 8501 passengers on Tuesday while the remains of one passenger was recovered Monday.

The bodies were found on the Java Sea floor near the area where the fuselage wreckage was located, according to AirAsia.

The plane climbed at a speed that was “beyond normal” and then stalled, Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said.

AFP / Getty Images ADEK BERRY

“In the final minutes, the plane climbed at a speed which was beyond normal,” Jonan said. “The plane suddenly went up at a speed above the normal limit that it was able to climb to. Then it stalled.”

The fuselage of the plane has been located with underwater imaging, officials said. It’s expected most bodies are located in the cabin.

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The cockpit voice recorder of the AirAsia plane was retrieved Tuesday, a Transport Ministry was quoted as saying by Indonesian news channel MetroTV.

The black box was found near the location of the flight data recorder, which was retrieved on Monday. It took longer to retrieve the voice recorder, because it was buried under heavy wreckage.

The cockpit voice recorder is now on an Indonesian navy ship and is expected to be sent to Indonesia’s capital Jakarta for analysis, Reuter reported.

Since the voice recorder records in a two-hour loop, all discussions between the captain and co-pilot during the 42-minute journey should be available, the Associated Press reported.

Indonesian navy divers on Monday retrieved the black box flight data recorder:

Head of the National Transportation Safety Committee Tatang Kurniadi, right, points at the flight data recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 as Indonesian Armed Forces Chief Moeldoko, center, looks on, onboard Indonesian navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh, in the Java Sea Jan. 12, 2015. Pool / Reuters

The flight data recorder is seen in a carrying case onboard Indonesian navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh on Monday.

Pool / Reuters

The bodies of two additional AirAsia passengers killed in the crash were identified.

David Gunawan and Youvita Elisabeth, of Indonesia, were the latest people to be identified after the plane they were on crashed on Dec. 28, AirAsia said Monday.

The Airbus A320 was carrying a total of 162 passengers, 48 remains have been recovered and 34 identified.

Divers reportedly located the cockpit voice recorder from the AirAsia plane, but have not yet retrieved it.

Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, the operation coordinator at the National Search and Rescue Agency, said crews have located the second black box only hours after retrieving the flight data recorder earlier on Monday.

He said divers could not yet retrieve the cockpit voice recorder, because it was under heavy wreckage but they were working to lift it.

Crews started focusing on where the black boxes were discovered after three Indonesian ships heard pings coming from the area.

AirAsia flight data recorder retrieved, rescuers said.

Divers in the Java Sea have retrieved the flight data recorder of QZ8501, while the cockpit voice recorder remains missing, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, Bambang Soelistyo, said.

Search teams detected pings on Friday from its beacons, but crews were unable to get a visual on it due to strong currents and poor visibility. On Monday, divers took advantage of good weather in the Java Sea to retrieve the black box from the crashed plane, Reuters said.

Soelistyo said the data recorder was retrieved by four divers early Monday morning.

Divers have located the black box from the crashed AirAsia jet, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry confirmed to AFP that the black box had been found but not retrieved because it is stuck under the remains of the doomed plane.

“The navy divers in Jadayat state boat have succeeded in finding a very important instrument, the black box of AirAsia QZ8501,” an official told AFP.

The Guardian reported that the black box was 99-106 feet underwater. Officials hope that the black box will shed light on why the plane crashed last month, killing all 162 people aboard.

An official told the Guardian that divers would attempt to shift the wreckage of the plane on Monday to retrieve the black box.

Parts of AirAsia Flight 8501 is seen on the deck of rescue ship Crest Onyx at Kumai port in Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

A section of the tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the ship Crest Onyx, the day after it was lifted from the seabed, as it arrives at Kumai Port, near Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan January 11, 2015. Darren Whiteside / Reuters

A section of the tail of AirAsia QZ8501 passenger plane is seen on the deck of the ship Crest Onyx, the day after it was lifted from the seabed, as it arrives at Kumai Port, near Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan January 11, 2015. Darren Whiteside / Reuters

Searchers Sunday may have located the crashed AirAsia plane’s fuselage.

Authorities with Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency told Reuters that a sonar scan had detected an object measuring about 32 feet by 8 feet. The object was lying on the sea floor.

“They suspect it is the body of the plane. There is a big possibility that the black box is near the body of the plane,” an official told Reuters.

Divers had been sent to investigate the object Sunday. If suspicions are correct and it is the plane’s fuselage, the first priority will be recovering victims’ bodies, authorities also said.

Crews managed to bring the tail of the crashed AirAsia plane to the surface Saturday.

The tail was lifted from the sea floor using large balloons. After floating to the surface, the tail was hoisted onto a ship.

AFP / Getty Images ADEK BERRY

AFP / Getty Images ADEK BERRY

The tail was located under about 100 feet of water in the Java Sea, where crews have focused their search for the ill-fated plane, the Associated Press reported. The rear of the plane has been of particular interest, as it would have held the black boxes — which should offer some insight into what led to the crash.

It was not immediately clear Saturday if the black boxes were still in the tail section.

AirAsia have released a statement detailing the latest developments in the recovery operation for the aircraft, which said that seven more bodies had been recovered from the crash site. The statement reads:

The SAR Operation led by The National SAR Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia continues today with marginally better weather and clear visibility for the sea divers to recover more remains and debris of QZ8501’s aircraft from the sea.

Sea divers were also deployed to attach the floating bags on the aircraft’s tail piece in order to lift it out from water. Meanwhile, BASARNAS also assures that passengers search and evacuation are still the main priority and the black box search is still underway.

As of this morning, BASARNAS confirms to have recovered seven more remains in which the seven remains are already arrived at Pangkalan Bun.

Meanwhile, passengers’ belongings found in the focused search area are already secured at the crisis center in East Java Region Police Headquarter, Surabaya. AirAsia Indonesia will secure other belongings found during the SAR operations and return them to eligible Next-Of-Kins following a strict screening process.

The Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they were able to identify two more remains known as: Martinus Djomi (male) and Marwin Sholeh (male).

To date, BASARNAS has confirmed to have recovered atotal of 48 remains of which 27 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and21 remains are still being identified.

AirAsia Indonesia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking progress on the search and evacuation and identification process of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from BASARNAS and DVI POLRI.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.

An Indonesian search team has detected “pings” in their search for Flight QZ8501’s black box.

Investigator Santoso Sayogo told Reuters on Friday that it appeared the black box was no longer in the jet’s tail, which the team was working to recover. Divers were deployed to find the box’s exact location.

“We received an update from the field that the pinger locator already detected pings,” he told Reuters. “We have our fingers crossed it is the black box. Divers need to confirm. Unfortunately it seems it’s off from the tail. But the divers need to confirm the position.”

Searchers also found two more bodies. More than 100 remain missing.

Just received info from BASARNAS that 2 more bodies have been recovered today making the total 46. #QZ8501

— Liow Tiong Lai (@liowtionglai)

Naval personnel carry air balloons into a NC212 aircraft at Juanda airbase in Surabaya, January 8, 2015. Antara Foto / Reuters

Indonesian officials are loading “lifting balloons” onto a helicopter to help bring the flight’s tail up from the seafloor.

Officials in Indonesia loaded air balloons onto a helicopter Friday in preparation to lift the tail. Searchers believe the blackbox is in the tail of the plane, although officials have warned there’s a chance it could have been separated from the tail.

The tail was found on Wednesday, upturned on the sea bed about 100 feet deep.

“For today’s operations, we will use helicopters to carry the balloons that will assist in lifting the tail,” Lt Col Penerbang Jhonson Hendrico Simatupang told Reuters.

Indonesia’s search chief, Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, said that a crane may also be needed to lift the tail.

Of the 162 people on board the flight, 44 bodies have been recovered so far.

Naval personnel carry air balloons into a NC212 aircraft at Juanda airbase in Surabaya, January 8, 2015. Antara Foto / Reuters

Naval personnel move air balloons into a NC212 aircraft at Juanda airbase in Surabaya, January 8, 2015. Sigit Pamungkas / Reuters

Searchers Thursday found the body of a woman killed in the crash, Malaysia’s Chief of Navy reported on Twitter.

#QZ8501: KD PERAK just recovered a female body today at 1000G in Sector 1. Body in the process of handing over to BASARNAS.

— Abdul Aziz Jaafar (@ChiefofNavy)

The discovery adds to the 40 other bodies searchers have already recovered.

The tail of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was discovered Wednesday, officials said.

Photo released by Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency of what has been identified as part of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in the waters of the Java Sea, Indonesia. AP Photo/BASARNAS

Photo released by Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency on Wednesday, Jan. 7. Part of the wreckage identified as part of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is seen in the waters of the Java Sea, Indonesia. AP Photo/BASARNAS

Divers located the plane’s tail underwater and searchers have since photographed the wreckage, the Associated Press reported.

“We have found the tail that has been our main target today,” Rescue Agency Chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo told Reuters Wednesday. “The tail part has been found and confirmed at a position in our second priority sector.”

The discovery of the tail is significant because that section of the plane would have been carrying the black boxes — which record details about the flight and could potentially shed light on what happened.

As of Wednesday afternoon 40 bodies had been located, the AP reported.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted Wednesday that the black boxes should be in the tail.

I am led to believe the tail section has been found. If right part of tail section then the black box should be there.

— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes)

Jim Dalrymple II, Stacy-Marie Ishmael, Rossalyn Warren, Tom Namako, Austin Hunt, Alison Vingiano, Michelle Broder Van Dyke, Adolfo Flores, Tasneem Nashrulla, Mary Ann Georgantopoulos and Francis Whittaker contributed reporting.

This is a developing story. Please check back here and at BuzzFeed News on Twitter for updates.

correction

The chief of Indonesia’s search and rescue operation said that as of Dec. 30 at 9:10 a.m. ET, three bodies were recovered. An earlier version of this article cited a navy official saying about 40 bodies were recovered. A navy spokesman later said that figure was incorrect.

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