AirAsia Flight 8501: Tail Section Found in Java Sea
As with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and as with so many other international disasters and tragedies, the U.S. military is there. “There” this time is the Java Sea between Surabaya, Indonesia and Singapore, where AirAsia Flight 8501, an Airbus A320 carrying 162 souls, went down 11 days ago.
Two U.S. Navy ships are in the area assisting the search and recovery efforts: The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship based in San Diego and the Navy destroyer USS Sampson, also based in San Diego.
After recovering 40 bodies so far, there are now reports that divers and an unmanned underwater vehicle have spotted the tail of the missing aircraft, “the first confirmed sighting of wreckage” from flight 8501.
The tail section of the AirAsia flight that crashed more than a week ago has been found in the Java Sea, Indonesia’s search and rescue chief announced Wednesday, in the first confirmed sighting of wreckage from the missing jetliner that went down with 162 people on board.
Divers, whose efforts have been hindered for days by bad weather, and an unmanned underwater vehicle spotted the debris and managed to photograph it, National Search and Rescue chief Henry Soelistyo told reporters. One of the released underwater photos clearly shows an upside down “A” on a piece of metal.
The discovery of the tail section of Flight 8501 is good news, because that is where the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, otherwise known as the black boxes, are located in the Airbus A320.
Here are some photos of the U.S. Navy assisting in the recovery efforts:
Sailors aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) make preparations to launch the 11-m rigid hull inflatable boat. Fort Worth is currently on station in the Java Sea supporting Indonesian-led efforts to locate missing AirAsia Flight 8501. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist MC2 Antonio P. Turretto Ramos)
Sailors aboard the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) make preparations to launch a Tow Fish side scan sonar system from the ship’s 11-m rigid hull inflatable boat. Fort Worth, in the background, is currently on station in the Java Sea supporting Indonesian-led efforts to locate missing AirAsia Flight 8501. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist MC2 Antonio P. Turretto Ramos)
The recovery team from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) signals the boat deck crew while conducting search and recovery operations in support of the Indonesian-led Air Asia flight 8501 search efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote)
Lead photo: Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Cody Witherspoon, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 35, keeps a lookout as his helicopter returns to the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson. Sampson is supporting Indonesian-led search efforts to locate Air Asia Flight 8501. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote)