AirAsia Victims Found Strapped in Seats

International team on scene to look for wreckage, black boxes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2015 7:11 AM CST
AirAsia Victims Found Strapped in Seats
A crew member of Indonesian Navy's CN-235 transport plane looks out of a window during a search operation for victims of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight 8501 on Java Sea, Indonesia, Jan. 1, 2015.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Though bad weather has been keeping divers from searching for the wreck of AirAsia Flight 8501, the head of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency says "we will focus on underwater detection": An international team outfitted with acoustic equipment arrived today to help search for the black boxes belonging to the Airbus A320-200, which crashed and sank off Borneo on Sunday. The Guardian reports that the math is working in the searchers' favor, as the plane crashed in shallow waters and the black boxes' beacons—as long as they're still functioning—have a range of about 6,500 feet to 9,800 feet. On the surface, the recovery effort had its most successful day yet, with 21 of the 30 bodies recovered so far being pulled from the Java Sea today, the AP reports. An Indonesian navy official said some of the dead were still strapped to their seats.

Assisting in the search for the wreckage as of today are ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the US; nine planes; and two hydrophones, or underwater acoustic detection devices, from France's BEA crash investigation agency. Two ships from Japan with three helicopters are also en route to an 8,380-square-mile area that's being searched. Officials previously said it could take up to a week to find the black boxes, but bad weather—including rain and strong winds, waves, and currents—is set to continue. The current theory as to what happened is that the plane may have stalled as it attempted a steep climb to avoid a storm. The first victim to be identified was laid to rest yesterday. (More Flight 8501 stories.)

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