A fresh attempt to lift the sunken fuselage of the doomed AirAsia plane from the Java Sea today failed when a wire rope snapped after the wreckage reached the surface of the water, Indonesian officials said.
Efforts to lift the fuselage or the main section of the Airbus A320-200, expected to contain remaining bodies of victims of the December 28 crash that killed all 162 people on board, have failed so far.
“The fuselage appeared at the surface, but the rope broke and it fell down again,” said Supriyadi, director of operations and training for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.
Earlier, rescuers tried to lift the section with balloons, a procedure they also used to hoist the tail of the ill-fated AirAsia Flight QZ8501, en route from Indonesia’s Surabaya city to Singapore.
Yesterday, efforts failed again when sharp parts of the debris sliced through a strap connecting the fuselage to a giant balloon and the wreckage sank to the seabed once again.
Several bodies fell from the fuselage when the piece of wreckage sank yesterday.
One body was retrieved today after it appeared in the water as the fuselage neared the surface, taking the total recovered so far to 70.
Indonesian divers were able to enter the fuselage for the first time on Friday after high waves and strong currents in the choppy waters prevented them from accessing the piece of wreckage for days.
Bad weather had also prevented rescuers to retrieve the crucial black box recorders till mid-January when divers used calmer mornings to pull out the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder separately.
Investigators are examining the black box recorders, which are actually orange, to determine what caused the plane to end in the Java Sea after the pilot requested to fly higher due to stormy weather but was denied permission because of heavy air traffic in the sector.