AirAsia Flight QZ8501: French investigators to arrive Friday at crash scene

Indonesian military personnel at a military base in Surabaya carrying  on Jan 1, 2015, a casket containing the body of an AirAsia flight QZ8501 passenger, recovered off the coast of Borneo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Indonesian military personnel at a military base in Surabaya carrying  on Jan 1, 2015, a casket containing the body of an AirAsia flight QZ8501 passenger, recovered off the coast of Borneo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - France's crash investigation agency said its specialist black box search team and equipment would arrive early on Friday at the search area for the AirAsia flight which crashed on Sunday en route from Indonesia to Singapore.

France's BEA crash investigation agency assists in the investigation of any air crash involving an Airbus aircraft because the company is France-based.

Heavy seas stopped divers from reaching the possible wreck of the AirAsia Indonesia jet off Borneo on Thursday and an aviation official said it could be a week before the black box flight recorders were found.

"During the morning of January 2nd, local time, a ship will be taking the investigators to the search area, with detection equipment including hydrophones, in order to try to locate the acoustic beacons from the two flight recorders," BEA said in a statement.

The plane was travelling at 32,000ft and had asked to fly at 38,000ft to avoid bad weather.

When air traffic controllers granted permission for a rise to 34,000ft a few minutes later, they received no response.

Nine bodies have so far been recovered from the Airbus A320-200, which crashed with 162 people on board.

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