Divers, working frantically Wednesday in the stormy Java Sea, located the tail section of the missing AsiaAir Flight 8501, which may offer crucial details about the cause of the crash of the Airbus A320-200 jet, Indonesian officials confirmed.
The divers have sent photographs to the surface of the debris, about 33-ft. long, which was found submerged in about 100 feet of murky water and partially buried, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The find marks the recovery of the first piece of the downed jetliner, which disappeared from radar during heavy storms on Dec. 28, making no distress calls.
The tail was found upside down on the sea floor, and Indonesian media showed images that reportedly included a visual of the plane’s registration and its red and white logo, the Times said, noting it renewed hope that the tail contained the plane’s black boxes and that more of the fuselage could be recovered at sea.
Flight 8501 carried 162 passengers and crew members. To date, 40 bodies have been recovered in an international search effort marred by rough seas and stormy weather off the coast of the island of Borneo.
“I am led to believe the tail section has been found. If right part of tail section then the black box should be there,” Tweeted AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes.
We need to find all parts soon so we can find all guests to ease the pain of our families, he wrote. That still is our priority.