AirAsia QZ8501: Cockpit recorder on its way to Jakarta, says Indonesian official

JAKARTA - Indonesian officials have clarified that the cockpit voice recorder of the crashed AirAsia jet has been found and is on its way to Jakarta for analysis on Tuesday, shortly after the search and rescue chief claimed that the device was still missing.

"Sorry for the confusion but we needed to confirm it. I needed to personally fly to the KRI Banda Aceh (navy vessel) to check it and the serial number, and confirm it is AirAsia's," said Mr Tatang Kurniadi, head of the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), in Pangkalan Bun. The device has been confirmed to belong to Flight QZ8501.

The director of operations of National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), Mr S.B. Supriyadi, said the black box is now being sent to the KNKT laboratory in Jakarta.

Earlier, Basarnas chief Air Chief Marshal FH Bambang Soelistyo, told reporters in Surabaya that the cockpit voice recorder and Flight QZ8501's fuselage - which is believed to hold the bodies of many of the victims - have not been found.

Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea in stormy weather on Dec 28, less than half-way into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore, killing all 162 people onboard the Airbus A320-200.

The recovery of the cockpit data recorder came a day after the plane’s other black box, the flight data recorder, was recovered. The devices should give investigators vital information about what caused the accident.

Giving an update on the status of the flight data recorder, Mr Tatang said the recorder was opened at 9am on Tuesday and dried in an oven.

"The data from the flight data recorder has not been downloaded because it should not be damp," quoted Mr Tatang as saying.

He added that the KNKT will need eight to 10 months to release a report on the crash.