Divers retrieve 2nd black box from AirAsia crash


ACHMAD IBRAHIM, AP

The cockpit voice recorder was freed from beneath the heavy ruins of a wing early in the morning from a depth of about 30 meters (98 feet), a day after the aircraft’s flight data recorder was recovered, said Tonny Budiono, sea navigation director at the Transportation Ministry.

“Thank God,” he said. “This is good news for investigators to reveal the cause of the plane crash.”

The device will be flown to the capital, Jakarta, to be downloaded and analyzed with the other box. Since it records in a two-hour loop, all discussions between the captain and co-pilot should be available.

The plane disappeared from radar 42 minutes into a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore on Dec. 28. All 162 people on board were killed, but only 48 bodies have been recovered so far.

The find is the latest boost in the slow-moving hunt to scour the shallow, murky stretch of ocean.

Over the weekend, the tail of the Airbus A320 was recovered, emblazoned with the carrier’s red-and-white cursive logo. The black boxes are housed inside the tail, but they were missing when the wreckage was pulled to the surface.

The devices were soon located after three Indonesian ships detected two strong pings being emitted from their beacons, about 20 meters (22 yards) apart. Strong currents, large waves and blinding silt have hindered divers’ efforts throughout the 17-day search, but they took advantage of calmer early morning conditions on both days to extract the instruments.

The information pulled from the black boxes – which are actually orange – will likely be vital. Designed to survive extreme heat and pressure, they should provide investigators with a second-by-second timeline of the flight.