Update as of 7:00 a.m. EST: Indonesian rescue teams attempting to salvage the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 failed to raise the wreckage from the sea bed on Saturday, authorities said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"We were not successful today. The sling snapped off so the main body fell back to the sea floor," Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told AFP, adding that several bodies fell out of the fuselage when the wreckage sunk into the Java Sea once again.
The operation to recover the fuselage will resume on Sunday. Supriyadi also reportedly said that an object “suspected to be the cockpit” of the Airbus A320-200 was detected during a sonar scan, but search teams will focus on floating the fuselage before verifying the suspected cockpit debris.
Indonesian teams launched an operation Saturday to raise the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501 to the surface of the Java Sea with the help of balloons, after the first attempt at a recovery failed. Divers also retrieved more bodies from inside the main section of the jet Saturday morning.
Divers descended to the bottom of the Java Sea to recover the fuselage earlier, but the attempt failed as the ropes being used in the operation snapped. The team is now reportedly attempting to tie floatation bags to the fuselage that would help bring the wreckage to the surface, a navy official overseeing the operation reportedly said.
"We have begun the operation today to lift the main body and we hope we can float it today," Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told Agence France-Presse.
Divers were able to reach the fuselage after several failed attempts over the last few days, due to rough seas and strong currents. The main section was spotted in the Java Sea last week by a Singaporean navy ship, which was deployed on Dec. 30.
Four bodies were retrieved by divers from inside the fuselage on Saturday while six bodies were recovered on Friday, bringing the total number to 69, officials reportedly said. Search teams entered the fuselage on Friday to find bodies of the passengers on board the Airbus A320-200.
"The divers said it was dark inside, the seats where floating about and the wires were like a tangled yarn," Supriyadi reportedly said, adding that the fuselage's recovery would make it easier to inspect the wreckage and locate more bodies.
Meanwhile, investigators are analyzing the flight data recorders to determine the cause of the crash. Authorities are probing whether human error or some damage to the aircraft led to the crash, after ruling out any terrorism as a possible cause.
The plane, which was carrying 162 people, went down Dec. 28 during a flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore after the pilot requested for a change of course to avoid bad weather.