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.
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.
"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.
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:
The flight data recorder is seen in a carrying case onboard Indonesian navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh on Monday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Searchers Thursday found the body of a woman killed in the crash, Malaysia's Chief of Navy reported on Twitter.
The discovery adds to the 40 other bodies searchers have already recovered.
The tail of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was discovered Wednesday, officials said.
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.
In a statement released on Sunday, AirAsia said that 80 deep-sea divers have been deployed into the Java Sea so they can get visual confirmation on objects that are suspected to be part of the aircraft’s fuselage.
The remains of four more passengers were recovered on Sunday, as well as debris from what is believed to be the plane's emergency exit window, luggage, passenger seats, and survival kits.
The remains are being transported to Surabaya, Indonesia, on Sunday night, where they will be identified.
The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia in Surabaya identified the bodies of three more QZ8501 passengers. They are Wismoyo Ari Prambudi (male), Jie Stevie Gunawan (female), and Juanita Limantara (female).
The families of the deceased have been given the remains.
So far, AirAsia confirms that they have recovered 34 bodies and identified nine remains, with 25 remains still awaiting identification.
Crews searching for the missing plane Sunday located a fifth large object lying on the sea floor.
The object was spotted in the Java Sea, Reuters reported. However, weather also complicated the search over the weekend and diving was suspended Sunday.
The USS Fort Worth joined the search Saturday for the missing plane.
The ship is part of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet and joins the USS Sampson, a destroyer that has been participating in the search since Monday, NBC News reported.
The Indonesian weather agency BMKG believes that bad weather was the determining factor in the crash of the AirAsia flight, the BBC has reported.
The weather agency said that their initial analysis suggested that there were icy conditions in the air which led the engine of Flight QZ8501 to stall.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page on Saturday, AirAsia said it had confirmed the remains of two more passengers.
The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) said in a statement that the bodies were identified as Hendra Gunawan Syawal (male) and The Meiji Thejakusuma (female).
The remains of the two people were handed over by AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Sunu Widyatmoko at Bhayangkara Hospital.
Here is the full statement:
SURABAYA, 3rd JANUARY 2015 – Entering the seventh day of search and rescue mission, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia confirms that they have recovered 30 remains from the search area. The search process is still underway with the Russian SAR team joining the mission, strengthening the operation led by BASARNAS. Weather in the SAR area for tomorrow (Sunday) is forecasted to be much better with waves likely to decrease and remain at 2-3 metres.
The officials have also announced that sonar equipment detected two large objects on the ocean floor which may be the wreckage of flight QZ 8501.
The 12 remains consisting of 9 male and 3 female arrived today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya to undergo the identification process.
In addition, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today confirmed two remains of QZ 8501 passengers which were identified as Hendra Gunawan Syawal (male) and The Meiji Thejakusuma (female). The remains were handed over earlier today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya by Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia, Sunu Widyatmoko.
To date, DVI POLRI has identified a total of six passengers while the 24 remaining remains are still being identified. DVI POLRI also confirms that the remains identification process will be supported by DVI experts from Singapore and South Korea.
AirAsia 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.
On late Friday, searchers using sonar equipment found four "large objects" sitting about 90 feet under water in the Java Sea.
Indonesian officials told the AP that the large objects are parts of AirAsia Flight 8501.
According to NBC News, the objects also were located near an oil spill, leading crews to believe they may be zeroing in on the plane's fuselage.
Authorities involved in the search told AFP that the larger of the two objects is about 32 feet by 16 feet in size. Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency, said that one of the pieces, which was about 59 feet long, appeared to be part of the jet's body.
Officials remain hopeful that they will locate the rest of 162 passengers and crew who were strapped into their seats when the plane crashed.
"Two big objects" found during AirAsia Flight QZ8501 search: Indonesia search-and-rescue agency chief.
National Search and Rescue Agency chief Bambang Sulistyo said the "two objects big enough in measurement" were found 30 meters under water and were located near an oil slick, the Straits Times reported.
"With the discovery of an oil spill and two big parts of the aircraft, I can assure you these are the parts of the AirAsia plane we have been looking for," Sulistyo told reporters. "We are waiting for visual confirmation from pictures."
Indonesia's transport ministry temporarily suspended AirAsia's Surabaya-Singapore route due to an agreement violation.
The Surabaya-Singapore flight had operated the service beyond the duration of its license, Reuters reported.
"As of Jan. 2, 2015, the license of Surabaya-Singapore (return) route to Indonesia AirAsia is temporarily frozen until after there is a result of evaluation and investigation," spokesman Julius Adravida Barata said Friday.
AirAsia said four of the 30 bodies recovered were identified.
By Friday four people killed in the AirAsia crash had been identified, airline officials said.
Grayson Herbert Linaksita, Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi, Kevin Alexander Sutjipto, and Hayati Luthfi Hamid were among the 30 bodies recovered from the deadly crash the airline said in a statement.
AirAsia released the bodies to their families at Bhayangkara Hospital in Surabaya, Indonesia. The victims were identified by matching their DNA with samples submitted by their families.
Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi was one of the flight attendants on AirAsia Flight QZ8501. She had been with AirAsia Indonesia since January 2013.
"Khairunisa was well known for her professionalism as well as dedication at work," AirAsia wrote on its Facebook page.
Top AirAsia officials flew to Palembang, Indonesia, to hand over Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi's remains and attended her burial.
An Indonesian official has told MetroTV that 30 of the AirAsia crash victims' bodies have now been recovered, the Associated Press reported.
Five of those were found strapped into their seats.
Commander of the warship Bung Tomo Colonel Yaynan Sofiyan said the five were among seven bodies retrieved from the Java Sea and taken to an Indonesian boat on Friday.
Henry Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue, later confirmed that a total of 30 bodies had been recovered from QZ8501.
Two more bodies were recovered Thursday, officials said.
Nine bodies have been recovered so far.
"Her body, in a dark casket topped with flowers, was handed over to family members during a brief ceremony at a police hospital in Surabaya," according to the Associated Press.
A break in bad weather on Thursday gave searchers a much needed window for tracking down the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 and more of the 155 bodies still missing after it crashed in waters off Indonesia.
As of Jan. 1, just seven bodies had been recovered.
"The visibility is good this morning, we are ready to fight with full force to search for bodies, wreckages that can reveal what went wrong with this accident," First Marshal Agus Dwi Putranto, an Air Force Operation commander helping to lead the search, told the Associated Press.
Four aircraft were dispatched to the search area just after sunrise, he added.
High winds and choppy seas had grounded helicopters Wednesday and prevented divers from entering the water. Searchers have been eager to dive down into relatively shallow waters to pinpoint the location of the jet's fuselage before strong currents move the debris even further.
Sonar images recently identified what appeared to be large parts of the jet, where authorities believe many of the bodies may be trapped inside.
Vice Air Marshal Sunarbowo Sandi, a search and rescue coordinator told the AP he was hopeful divers would be able to explore the wreckage site under blue skies and calm conditions.
"It's possible the bodies are in the fuselage," he said. "So it's a race now against time and weather."
AirAsia Flight QZ8501 made an "unbelievably" steep climb before it crashed according to radar data.
The radar data transmitted by the plane before its crash appears to show that the plane's rate of climb was "too high" pushing it beyond Airbus A320's limits, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.
"So far, the numbers taken by the radar are unbelievably high. This rate of climb is very high, too high. It appears to be beyond the performance envelope of the aircraft," the source said.
The first bodies of the victims of the AirAsia crash have returned to land at a military airbase in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.
Two bodies were brought to the base on Wednesday, where families are waiting, the BBC reported.
Families have been asked for DNA samples, in order to expedite identification the bodies.
Wednesday's search efforts have been hampered by strong winds and huge waves, which have grounded most helicopters and preventing divers from entering the water.
A video of the first two bodies being returned to land can be seen here:
Malaysian Chief of Navy Abdul Aziz Jaafar posted pictures online Wednesday that appeared to show crews recovering the plane's evacuation slide.
A total of seven bodies — four men and three women — have been recovered so far, Indonesia's search chief said.
By midmorning local time, officials said they believed they had found the body of the plane using sonar.
Searchers also turned up more belongings of passengers.
Three additional bodies were found by Wednesday morning, including one flight attendant, CNN reported.
Indonesian officials on Tuesday hauled in some of the debris and luggage found in the Java Sea, displaying it at a news conference.
There are conflicting accounts, from officials, of how many bodies have been recovered. The most current figure is that three were found.
The head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, Bambang Soelistyo, told a news conference that three bodies were recovered, First Post reported.
Speaking in Jakarta on Tuesday, Soelistyo said, "Today we evacuated three bodies and they are now in the warship Bung Tomo." He said that one body was male, and two were female.
Earlier, navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir said that a navy radio communication informed him that the crew of Bung Tomo had recovered 40 bodies. He later said that figure was based on a miscommunication by his staff.
Family members gathered at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, react to the news that bodies have been found near the debris site.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed that the solitary British passenger aboard AirAsia Flight QZ8501 is Choi Chi Man.
The BBC reported that Choi is 48 years old, and a Hong Kong resident. It is believed he was travelling with his 2-year-old daughter, Zoe.
On Sunday, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond tweeted:
More than 40 bodies have been retrieved after debris was found in the search for missing QZ8501.
Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir told AFP: "Based on the navy radio, it has been reported that the warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now."
Bambang Sulistyo, the head of Indonesia's search-and-rescue agency, has told a news conference that the debris found off the Kalimantan coast is "95% likely" to be from missing Flight QZ8501.
He said a shadow, believed to be the fuselage of the AirAsia jet, had also been spotted under the water by a search aircraft.
Divers are now set to be deployed to the debris site, which is believed to have a depth of 25–30 meters.
Bodies have been found intact and brought aboard an Indonesian navy ship, Sulistyo said.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted his condolences to the families:
Indonesian officials have told families that "victims" were spotted near the site where debris from the missing AirAsia plane was believed to have been found.
Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency chief said during the conference that the debris is “95% likely” to be from the plane and that they've spotted what they believe is an emergency exit door.
The search team will continue to work day and night despite conditions, the chief said. The area is estimated to be about 30 meters, and 11 divers are on their way there currently.
Body bags are being brought to the area nearby:
Debris spotted near the coast of Borneo island is from "the AirAsia plane," the Indonesian aviation chief said.
"For the time being it can be confirmed that it's the AirAsia plane and the transport minister will depart soon to Pangkalan Bun," Indonesia's director general of civil aviation, Djoko Murjatmodjo, told AFP.
Indonesian navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir said on Indonesian channel tvOne that the search-and-rescue crews had spotted people on the surface of the water not far from the debris:
Relatives of QZ8501 passengers are being called in to meet with officials at search-and-rescue headquarters in Surabaya, Indonesia, CNN reported.
An Indonesia official said debris in the water is possibly part of the missing AirAsia plane, according to the Associated Press.
Indonesia National Search and Rescue spokesman Yusuf Latif said that white, red, and black objects were spotted, including what appears to be a life jacket, off the coast of Borneo island. The objects were spotted by an Indonesian military aircraft.
He also said they were dispatching at least one helicopter to collect the objects.
Possible debris from QZ8501 spotted in the water was shown on Indonesian TV news channel Kompas:
The objects were reportedly spotted near the coast of Borneo island in a town called Pangkalan Bun.
AirAsia is chartering a flight for relatives to circle the search area and pray for the safe return of QZ8501's passengers, Singapore's Straits Times newspaper reported.
While many relatives of those on board the missing plane have already arrived at the at the crisis center at Surabaya's Juanda International Airport, more than 100 are still expected, Channel News Asia reported.
South Korea is sending a surveillance plane, which will arrive later Tuesday to join the search, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The multinational Indonesia-led search-and-rescue mission is already being assisted by Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Australia, while Thailand and France have offered to help. Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. sent a destroyer to the search area.
Late Monday night, the state navigation operator for AirNav Indonesia revealed more details about the last communication the pilot of Flight QZ8501 had had with air traffic control officials at Surabaya airport.
Captain Iriyanto requested to turn left at 6:12 a.m., which was immediately approved by air control. He then asked to ascend from 32,000 feet to 38,000, but did not say why he wanted to do so. Air traffic control initially rejected his request.
After communicating with their counterparts in Singapore, they told the pilot two minutes later that he could ascend to an altitude of 34,000 feet, since another AirAsia plane was at 38,000 feet, but there was no response.
"It took us around two to three minutes to communicate with Singapore," AirNav safety director Wisnu Darjono said. "But when we informed the pilot of the approval at 6:14, we received no reply."
The search for the missing plane is in its third day, and the U.S. Navy has confirmed it is sending the USS Sampson, a destroyer, to assist. It is scheduled to arrive later on Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of Defense prepared to join the search on Monday.
"The details of that request, which was made through the U.S. State Department, are still being coordinated but could include some air, surface and sub-surface detection capabilities," Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement. "We stand ready to assist in any way possible."
The upcoming third day of searching will cover an expanded area, ABC News reported:
While the second day of searching mainly focused on the waters around Belitung Island, Indonesia, search crews plan to spend day 3 focusing on utilizing foreign vessels with sonar capabilities, [national search-and-rescue agency chief Bambang] Soelistyo said. The day 3 search area will contain at least four new sectors, including ground area, he added.
Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said, "We will do all it takes to find the missing airplane and we hope that families of victims will be patient and pray that this search will have a conclusion."
An article in AirAsia's travel magazine said "your plane will never get lost" earlier this year.
AirAsia was forced to apologize earlier this year after a column in its issue of Travel 3Sixty magazine stated, "Pilot training in AirAsia is continuous and very thorough. Rest assured that your Captain is well prepared to ensure your plane will never get lost."
The article sparked outrage on social media after a passenger tweeted a picture of the column, which appeared days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, the Daily Mail reported.
AirAsia Executive Chairman Kamarudin Meranun then apologized for the column, saying it was printed before the disappearance of Flight MH370. "It truly saddens me that this article was released at such an inopportune moment," he said. "Again, I repeatedly offer my sincere apologies for any discomfort this may have caused."
The father of the missing pilot told the BBC "it's in the hands of fate."
"I want my son to come back alive and well," Suwarto said. "But if that's not meant to be, if God doesn't want that, it's in the hands of fate. My son, he's not alone on the plane. If this is God's will, then so be it."