Update as of 4:00 a.m. EST: An autonomous underwater vehicle will be used to recover the plane’s tail from the bottom of the Java Sea, according to Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Indroyono Soesilo. The tail's discovery, by divers and unmanned underwater vehicles about 18 miles from the suspected crash site, has raised hopes that the plane's black box too will soon be found and lead to an explanation for the plane's crash.

The black box, which is positioned near the plane’s tail, will be sent to Jakarta when it is found, Soesilo added, according to Channel News Asia. The flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders -- also called the black box -- emit signals for about 30 days from an incident until their batteries run out.

Suryadi B. Supriyadi, director of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, said that more bodies are expected to be found once the plane’s tail is recovered. Eight more bodies, including five females and three males, were identified Wednesday, Soesilo reportedly said at a press conference. The bodies were identified as Sri Ratri Andriani, 30; Ruth Natalia M Puspitasari, 26; Jou Christine Yuanita, 62; Soetikno Sia, 60; Rudy Soetjipto, 54; Nico Giovanni, 17; Indahju Liangsih, 17; and Stephanie Yulianto, 14.

Also on Wednesday, Indonesia's transport ministry temporarily suspended three weekly flights from Bandung, Indonesia, to Singapore, Channel News Asia reported, citing an airline spokesperson. Meanwhile, AirAsia Indonesia President Sunu Widyatmoko said that the company would comply with transport ministry regulations, which cite that families of passengers on board the Airbus A320-200 are eligible for $99,400 in compensation.

Update as of 1:30 a.m. EST: About 95 divers have been reportedly deployed to recover AirAsia Flight 8501's tail section, which has been located about 18 miles from the suspected crash site. Indonesia’s TV One network broadcast images purportedly showing the plane’s tail.

Authorities also reportedly said that 10 passenger seats from four rows have so far been recovered. And, according to a post on Twitter by a Channel News Asia reporter, investigators believe, based on an analysis of the jet's debris, that AirAsia Flight 8501 was rolling to the left when it crashed into the Java Sea.


The tail of AirAsia Flight 8501, which went down into the Java Sea with 162 people on board, has been found and will be recovered soon, Bambang Soelistyo, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency chief, said Wednesday, according to Reuters. The aircraft’s tail, which is the first significant wreckage to be identified, holds the black box flight recorders that could help determine the cause of the crash.

Soelistyo reportedly said that tail numbers were visible on the wreckage located in the Java Sea. The announcement comes after the USS Fort Worth, a combat vessel assisting the search, spotted objects that were likely to be debris from the aircraft, according to NBC News

"We have found the tail that has been our main target today," Soelistyo told reporters in the capital, Jakarta, according to BBC, adding that it was spotted by divers and unmanned underwater vehicles. The team "now is still desperately trying to locate the black box," he reportedly said.

Officials reported that weather conditions had slightly improved in the search zone. Strong currents had repeatedly delayed efforts to identify the jet's wreckage and recover bodies of the victims. An Indonesian vessel, Banda Aceh, retrieved a body from the Java Sea on Wednesday, bringing the total number of recovered bodies to 40. Authorities also reportedly said that two bodies arrived in Surabaya on Wednesday for identification.

The Airbus A320-200 was on its way to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, when it disappeared from radar on Dec. 28. The plane was traveling at a height of 32,000 feet when the pilot requested a change of course to avoid bad weather, following which it lost contact with air traffic controllers.