Divers had retrieved the flight data recorder of doomed AirAsia Flight 8501 Monday and had located the cockpit voice recorder on the floor of the Java Sea, a vital breakthrough in the investigation into what caused the crash that killed all 162 people on board Dec. 28.
Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, the operation coordinator at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, announced that the voice recorder, one of the two so-called "black boxes," was located hours after the flight data recorder was brought to the surface. He said the voice recorder was stuck under heavy wreckage and divers were working to free it at a depth of 105 feet.
Searchers had begun focusing on the site Sunday after three Indonesian ships picked up intense pings from the area, but they were unable to see it due to strong currents and poor visibility. Search efforts have been consistently hampered by big waves and powerful currents created by the region's rainy season. Silt and sand, along with river runoff, have created blinding conditions for divers.
The flight data recorder, which was found under part of the downed plane's wing at a depth of 100 feet, will be taken to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, for analysis. It could take up to two weeks to download its information, said Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at the National Committee for Safety Transportation.
Officials recovered the aircraft's tail on Saturday, the first major wreckage excavated from the crash site. They were hopeful the black boxes were still inside, but learned they had detached when the plane crashed into the sea. On Sunday, the ships detected two strong signals near each other.
The slow-moving hunt, which has often gone days with little progress, got a much-needed boost over the weekend when the tail was lifted from the seabed. It was the first major wreckage excavated from the crash site, but it was ripped open and the black boxes had detached.
On Sunday, the ships detected two strong signals near each other.
Also Sunday, search and rescue agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said divers located the wing and debris from the engine. Officials initially were hopeful it was the main section of the Airbus A320's cabin, where many of the corpses are believed to be entombed.
So far, only 48 bodies have been recovered. Three more were identified Sunday, including Park Seongbeom, 37, and his wife, Lee Kyung Hwa, 34, from South Korea, said Budiyono, who heads East Java's Disaster Victim Identification unit and, like many Indonesians, uses only one name.
He said they were discovered Friday on the seabed, still strapped to their seats. Their baby has not yet been found, but the infant's carrier was still attached to the man.
The last contact the pilots had with air traffic control, about halfway into their two-hour journey from Indonesia's second-largest city, Surabaya, to Singapore, indicated they were entering stormy weather. They asked to climb from 32,000 feet to 38,000 feet to avoid threatening clouds, but were denied permission because of heavy air traffic. Four minutes later, the plane dropped off the radar. No distress signal was sent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.