Indonesian military divers have battled powerful currents and murky waters in hope of finding the black boxes in the tail of crashed AirAsia Flight QZ8501.
The Indonesian Marines’ elite diving unit failed to retrieve the black boxes of the ill-fated plane in the Java Sea on Thursday, search and rescue agency chief, Bambang Soelistyo, said during a press conference in the capital city of Jakarta.
“Today’s search was really hampered by strong currents,” Soelistyo admitted, while referring to a day of repeated but fruitless probes to the tail.
The tail section was discovered on Wednesday, buried into the seabed some 30 meters (100 feet) underwater.
Unmanned underwater vehicles have been able to take photographs of the debris even though there were powerful currents and murky waters at the site.
Rescue workers have so far recovered 40 bodies and smaller pieces of the aircraft, including seats and an emergency door, from the sea surface.
Officials are hopeful many of the remaining 123 corpses will be found entombed in the body of the plane.
On December 28, 2014, the AirAsia Airbus A320 disappeared en route to Singapore from Surabaya in Indonesia, with 155 passengers and seven crew members on board. The plane, belonging to the Malaysian airlines, was later found to have crashed in the Java Sea under yet unknown circumstances.
The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics has said bad weather was the key factor behind the crash, specifically pointing to icy conditions as the likely cause of engine failure. Nearly 30 ships as well as six planes and 14 helicopters are now involved in the search operation.