Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501’s black box recorders have been found, Indonesian officials said. Its information should help investigators determine exactly what happened to the plane before it crashed into the Java Sea Dec. 28, killing all 162 aboard.
Indonesian officials told reporters divers found the devices between 99 and 106 feet below the surface of the sea, Agence France-Presse reported Sunday. Divers will attempt to shift the wreckage to access the devices Monday, the news agency said.
The so-called black box consists of two devices that record flight data and voices from the plane’s cockpit. Typically, this information can help investigators piece together the final moments before a crash and determine what went wrong, which remains a mystery to investigators in this case.
“This will be vital in understanding what happened during the last crucial moments of the flight,” Mark D. Martin, CEO of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC, told Bloomberg News.
The plane, an Airbus Group NV A320, crashed while being reported missing for hours en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. For now, authorities aren’t sure why the pilot, cruising at 32,000 feet, took an “unbelievably steep climb” to avoid weather conditions. There were storms in the region at the time, but other flights didn’t report any trouble. Search crews recovered the plane’s tail Saturday, but failed to find the black box.
Black boxes can withstand a great deal of damage, are waterproof and emit electronic signals after a crash to help recovery teams find them. Despite their name, they are actually orange in color.